With Halloween just around the corner, most children are getting pretty excited about getting bags full of free candy. Who can blame them? Not only do they get to wear costumes and walk around the neighborhood with their friends, but they also get tons of sweets. However, parents, are also familiar with some of the health and safety challenges related to this fun holiday. Needless to say, most problems are related to children eating many more sweets than on a regular day, which can lead to all sorts of problems, especially in connection with their teeth. So, what can and should we do about it?
A lot depends on your child’s attitude towards sweet treats. If they naturally self-regulate their consumption, you shouldn’t worry or impose unnecessary rules that might cause them to rebel. On the other hand, if your child has a particularly sweet tooth, you have to set some guidelines or even strict limits. That might include your taking all the treats and storing them out of their reach, so that you can control when they can eat their loot.
Though you may think this is redundant, since evenings in late October tend to be chilly, there is a good reason why you should give your child a water bottle when they eat chocolate or candy. Children in Australia, for example, are getting ready for the summer and they are already used to carrying a water bottle with them. Why is tap water good? Since most communities fluoridate water supplies, your child’s teeth will be stronger and more resistant to cavities because fluoride encourages “remineralisation”.
Extra brushing always helps
Even if your child knows how to brush their teeth properly, you should introduce extra supervised brushing, flossing and mouth rinsing on Halloween night because of all the sugar. The same principle should be applied in the weeks to come, while they eat some of their candy stash. Again, Australian parents are doing a great job when it comes to dental hygiene in this period.
Schedule visit to the dentist if needed
It makes perfect sense to schedule a check-up with your child’s dentist before or after Halloween. Experts, such as this experienced dentist in Brisbane, will tell you if they notice some problem with your child’s teeth or gums and will advise you how to treat it. They can also have a chat with the child about the negative effects of sweets on their teeth, which should reinforce all your efforts in that respect.
Make sure you know what your child is eating
Apart from the obvious selection you need to make in case your child is allergic to an ingredient, such as peanuts, commonly found in sweets, you should also take a look at all the treats they bring home and eliminate those products that are particularly harmful to your child’s teeth. Hard candy, for example, can stay in the mouth for a long time. The length of time sugary food is in the mouth has a strong effect on tooth decay. Also, sticky candies, which cling to the teeth, take longer to get washed away by saliva and in turn cause tooth decay.
When giving your child sweets to eat, make sure you do it right after meals, since saliva production increases during meals, which helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and rinse away food particles. Don’t let your child have access to sugary treats between meals. It’s bad both for their dental health and diet.
Avoid sugary beverages
While most people are preoccupied with candies and other sweet treats, we have to remember that sugary beverages, such as soda and flavoured water, also damage the teeth and lead to tooth decay. So, don’t let your child consume such products if you want their teeth to be strong and healthy.
All these tips can be implemented easily, without turning this fun holiday into a nightmare for your child. It’s important that you keep an eye on what your child is eating and talk to them about the negative effects of sugary food and beverages. If you manage to raise their awareness, you won’t have to go to the dentist very often and that is something every parent and child will surely appreciate.