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Avoiding Dental Horror For Halloween

Fun vampireHalloween is a horror movie for dental health, as kids (and adults) are assailed with all sorts of sweet treats. But there are ways to protect your little goblins and ghouls by making taking care of your teeth part of the holiday fun. And in doing so, you can teach your kids an important message about their teeth.

First off, it’s important to keep Halloween a fun event, and not be too strict on activities. In fact, most dentists discourage depriving kids of the Halloween experience, which could lead to other issues later on. Treats shouldn’t be forbidden, but kids need to know that if they’re allowed to indulge in treats, then they must also accept the responsibility for taking care of their teeth afterward.

This is the critical lesson from Halloween: It’s OK to have fun and enjoy candy from time to time. But when you do, you must also protect yourself from its dangers—damage to your teeth that could last a lifetime.

So here are some tips for making Halloween manageable for your family’s teeth:

1. As you’re stocking up on trick or treat candy, also get new toothbrushes for everyone. You should changes brushes every 3-4 months, and having a new brush (picked out by each family member) reinforces the idea that brushing is an important part of Halloween. In fact, you can time brush changes to other sweet-related seasons: Valentine’s Day, summer parties when kids are out of school, for example. That way, you can remind your kids about the importance of brushing at times when they’re thinking of treats. You can reinforce the responsibility that goes with them.

2. Designate times for treats, followed immediately by brushing. No one should nosh on candy all day long (or too close to meals or bedtime), so pick times for kids to enjoy their spooky loot. Then, once everyone’s had his or her fill, burn off some of that sugar energy with 2-3 minutes of teeth brushing. Treats could take the place of dinner desserts for several days, along with afternoon snacks. Then you could get everyone to brush an extra time each day.

3. Supervise the brushing. This is a good idea until children are about eight years old. And it helps kids to know that brushing is part of the treat routine. Make it relaxed. One way to keep kids from thinking brushing is punishment or a chore is to brush along with them. This makes the event a family event rather than something that should be dreaded.

Halloween can be lots of fun. But it can also be a great teaching tool for dental hygiene. It’s important for everyone in the family to remember that it’s pretty easy to take care of your teeth as you’re celebrating ghosts and vampires. And in doing so, you’ll make sure you have the ability to bite into those great treats for years to come.

Have questions about how to encourage kids to brush? Use the “Ask the Expert” feature on our website, or call us at 704-376-6470.

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…Treat Others As You Would Have Them Treat You … Matthew 7:12