Post-Halloween Dentist Tips to Keep Teeth Healthy After Trick-or-Treating!

There’s no denying that kids and adults alike love Halloween and all of its fun costumes, decorations, and parties. However, an excess of candy in the house can be a dental nightmare for everyone in the family. In 2015, there was an 80% increase in dental visits after Halloween compared to prior years! Despite the level of candy consumption that leads to tooth decay, there are some simple ways to turn Halloween into an opportunity to teach your kids the importance of good oral hygiene. Here are some family dentist tips for the best tricks to use when kids get ahold of Halloween candy:

1. Eat A Balanced Meal Before Trick-or-Treating

No matter what their age, people tend to make less healthy food choices when they’re hungry. Providing your child with a healthy, balanced meal before a Halloween party or trick-or-treating can make them less apt to fill up on candy and other sugary or starchy snacks.

2. Let Kids Choose What They Want To Keep

Depriving your kids of the experience of trick-or-treating and collecting candy makes it even more appealing and likely that they’ll be sneaking into the kitchen for some mini sizes when you’re not looking. Deprivation is not the best way to stick to a healthy diet, especially when explaining the importance of the problems that can occur with eating too much sugar can really help kids stop binging on it.

In fact, Halloween is a great opportunity to talk about how limiting (not eliminating) sugar and starchy foods can help prevent cavities, avoid the need for restorative dentistry like fillings, and benefit their overall health! When your kids return from trick-or-treating or a Halloween party, go through their Halloween candy with them and talk about which treats they like and how many they should keep. Some parents even trade-in candy for a few dollars to buy toys or books instead of eating them! After divvying up the haul, let them eat one or two and put the rest away for another day. You have the option of donating the rest of the candy or hiding it if you don’t want to throw it out. Pro dentist tip: If possible, get rid of sticky, chewy candies like caramels and gummy bears. Sour candies are highly acidic and can cause enamel erosion!

3. Make A Specific Time for Treats Each Day

Another pediatric dentistry tip that can help your child develop a healthy attitude toward sugary snacks and moderation, in general, is setting a time to have a treat each day. Looking forward to having a set time to eat a treat can help reduce their thoughts about eating sweets throughout the day. Even creating a reward system for good behavior, helping with chores, good grades at school, all could earn a sweet treat!

4. Set Up an Oral Hygiene Schedule

Brushing and flossing twice daily is vital to maintaining your oral health at any age—and we know that the latter is a taboo subject for most. Encourage your children to brush about half an hour after treat-time and of course, in the morning and before bed. Using a fluoride toothpaste and rinse designed for children can make it more fun and engaging for them to be excited about brushing their teeth, all while you get to feel assured that your children’s teeth are being protected from decay.

Here’s another dentist tip–help children under the age of eight with their brushing; making sure they brush and floss thoroughly is key to promoting good oral health. Kids older than eight should be supervised until they’re teenagers. By then, proper brushing and flossing should be a well-established habit.

5. Make Brushing Fun: Dentist Tips

Halloween is also the perfect time to get your child a new toothbrush. Make it an event—let your child pick out a brush and toothpaste. Another great dental tip for families? When children like their toothbrush and toothpaste, they’re more inclined to enjoy brushing and flossing their teeth so letting them choose their favorite superhero or Disney princess for their toothbrush is worth the extra cost! Make sure to check your child’s toothbrush occasionally for broken bristles—it should be replaced every three to four months for best results for their cute smiles.

Contact Harborview Dental Health for More Dentist Tips for Helping Teeth Survive Halloween

Halloween doesn’t have to be scary or hair-pulling when it comes to your encouraging your child to take care of their oral health. At Harborview Dental Health, we use state-of-the-art technology and gentle dental care to meet the needs of your whole family. For more information on dentist tips for Halloween or to schedule an appointment with a gentle dentist in Palm Harbor, contact us today at (727) 785-4716!