Despite all the healthy halloween food options for parties, snacks, and gatherings– your small monsters are probably pretty focused on the big night of Trick-or-Treating, and all that delicious loot they’re going to get!
Parents, do not despair. One night of candy debauchery will not ruin your children’s well-guarded smiles. Special occasions, like holidays (provided they don’t happen every week!) are an acceptable time to let down your guard and let your kids live a little bit– and in exchange, you might even be able to make the occasion a “teaching moment” about oral health!
The office of Gregory A. Williams, DMD, offers the following tips for capitalizing on Halloween’s educational underbelly:
Ask your small witch or warlock to device a reasonable candy consumption schedule.
The idea here is to encourage your child’s budding self-control by asking him or her to set the schedule. Let him or her decide how much candy may be eaten per day (between a choice of one or two pieces!), then help her stick to that number.
You child can also decide and what time of day said candy may be consumed. After school snack or dinner are the best times for candy consumption because the meal will have stimulated saliva production. Why is this important? Besides containing antimicrobial enzymes, saliva has the physical property of simply washing away excess food (and sugar) from the mouth, so bacteria have less to eat.
Entrust your child with an oral hygiene schedule to match her candy schedule.
Now that your kids have chosen when and how much Halloween candy they may consume (from a set of reasonable choices), it’s time to talk hygiene. Be sure to start by educating your kids on the relationship between cavities and sugar consumption, how cavities are formed and how they can prevent cavity formation through sound oral hygiene practice. Be sure your kids understand that eating candy means taking care of their teeth, too.
Then give your kids the chance to hold up their end of the bargain:
This means brushing and flossing every time after they eat candy. Practicing this gives them the opportunity to take responsibility for their own oral health, ensures that candy consumption has only the most limited impacts possible on their teeth, and it sets a great precedent for later treats. Forming this habit now will really help protect your kids’ teeth when you’re not around to enforce brushing after a college all-nighter fueled by gummy bears.
Halloween is a great time to talk about oral health.
The team at Dr. Williams’ clinic believes that the opportunity kids have to learn about oral hygiene and take personal responsibility for their health when they eat treats is actually a pretty great exchange when it comes to Halloween candy. After all, the best medicine is prevention, and that means forming healthy habits.
What does your family do around Halloween? Do you trade out candy for toys? Let the tiny goblins binge on candy in one, giant, stomachache-provoking frenzy? At the clinic of Gregory A. Williams, DMD, we’ve heard lots of approaches– and we want to hear yours! Share your ideas with us at your next appointment to see Dr. Williams, your dentist in Tigard, OR.