It may just be a sweet coincidence that October is both Dental Hygiene Month and Halloween but with Halloween just around the corner, your little ghosts and goblins are eager to hit the candy jackpot. But what else can be spookier than creepy crawlies and witches? Rotting teeth from too much sugar and dental plaque.
So before you handover any goodies to your trick-or-treater, here are my 7 tips on how to keep a healthy smile for Halloween:
1. Allow your children to eat only a piece or two of candy at a time. To avoid sugar overload, on the teeth and otherwise, keeping the Halloween loot as a special treat will also make the candy last longer.
2. Stick it to the sticky treats. Just because you got them doesn't mean you have to indulge in them. Before kids sort through their favourites, do a pre-emptive strike and sort out all the sugar bombs and sticky snacks that will reak havoc on kids teeth. They won't miss what they don't see.
3. Keep the healthy snacks in rotation. Not only are these healthy overall, they also help to clean teeth and neutralize harmful bacteria. Nuts, pre-cut fruits and veggies, hummous and pita are all great snacks that kids seem to like if they are laid out before them in snack sized portions.
4. Reduce other sugar-laden food and drinks. Juices, chocolate milk, cookies and even bread tend to have higher sugar counts. Try to water down juices or limit 'other' treats kids may normally have in lunches, as snacks or at bedtime.
5. Make sure that they continue to brush their teeth before bedtime. This is most important when Halloween candy is involved, as you want the sugars to be brushed away so they won't sit on the teeth overnight
6. Milk Mouth. Load up on healthy sources of calcium like cheeses, yogurt, eggs and milk which will help add much needed calcium to growing teeth.
7. Gentle reminders for Tweens and Teens. Dental Hygienists see a lot of people's teeth and the worst seem to be those of tweens and teens who tend to be responsible for their own personal hygiene and are often not given daily reminders to keep teeth and gums healthy. Gentle reminders to brush and floss twice and day, and in some cases, watch to ensure that they are caring for their teeth properly will help avoid decay and cavities.