The month of October has arrived and Halloween will be haunting parents and dentists again. Apart from Christmas and birthdays, Halloween is a favorite with many children as it is their excuse to treat themselves with lots of candies and chocolates. Parents, on the other hand, have to find some tricks to maintain their children’s dental health at this time of the year.
Here are some tips that may be useful for all the little ones out there to keep their teeth safe from cavities:
1. Choose the type of candies carefully
Avoid consuming soft, sticky, gooey candies such as caramels that can linger in the child’s mouth for long periods of time and are harder to remove. Avoid hard candies as those take a long time to dissolve too and may crack your child’s teeth if accidentally crunched upon with a large force. Give them chocolates that can melt quickly, especially dark chocolate.
2. Avoid snacking on candies
It is best to give children a treat with or after meals when saliva is still plentiful in the mouth to wash away the sugars and acids which may lead to cavities. Another way would be to encourage your child to drink or rinse with water after candy consumption.
3. Provide alternatives
Apart from limiting intake of candies and chocolates, provide healthy snacks as an alternative, such as cheese and vegetables (e.g. carrot sticks, fruits). If the child still needs a sweet fix, give sugar-free candies.
4. Encourage children to brush and floss regularly
Children like to imitate their parents or older siblings. Thus, be good role models when it comes to establishing good oral habits, such as brushing two times a day, for two minutes each and flossing once a day. It is encouraged to supervise your child when they are brushing and flossing, especially if your child is below six years of age, as they may not know how to do it well.
5. Regular visits to see a dentist/ paedodontist
One of the ways to prevent or minimize cavities is to ensure that your child sees the dentist/ paedodontist regularly for their dental check-up. In certain cases, the dentist or paedodontist will put fissure sealants on the teeth in order to prevent further decay.
6. Know your dentist’s emergency contact number
Parents should also remember to have their dentists’ phone number handy in case of any emergencies.
With that, have a Happy Halloween! May you help to maintain your kids’ smile and teeth to be spectacular (and not “spooktacular”).