With your child, set a time of day to eat Halloween candy. This ritual “treat time” may last long after Halloween and help promote healthy thinking about treats:
- Children learn that eating sweets shouldn’t be an all-day feast. Moderation is key.
- Knowing they have a specific sweet time can help make children less inclined to think about eating sweets at other times of the day.
Children’s Oral Health: Set Up a Teeth Brushing Schedule
No matter when treat time is, it’s crucial to brush soon after. If it is nighttime, for example, brushing and flossing teeth before bed will help sweep away the recent sweets. Fluoride mouth rinses for kids also help prevent tooth decay, according to the American Dental Association.
Until a child is 7 or 8 years old, a parent should help with teeth brushing, not simply supervise. Even after age 8, parents should supervise brushing. That includes friendly reminders to older children to brush and floss until they get to high school, when it should be a habit.
Use Disclosing Tablets, Swabs, or Solution
Some dentists use ”disclosing tablets” to spot bacterial plaque on teeth. These chewable tablets temporarily stain the plaque that builds up on teeth.
Parents can also use disclosing tablets, solution, or swabs to show children how well they are brushing or flossing their teeth — especially if they already have a cavity or two. A 12-pack of disclosing tablets is available over the counter and online for about $5.
You may want to schedule a disclosing session once a week or so, to keep your child on his toes.
Keep Teeth Brushing Fun
You should replace toothbrushes every three or four months anyway, so make Halloween an occasion for getting your child a new brush. Dentists say that when children like the toothbrushes, they are more apt to enjoy brushing. Children can choose from a variety of kid-sized brushes that feature cartoon characters and colorful designs. Young children typically can’t wait to use a new toothbrush.
- Children also like to pick out their own toothpaste. Give your child the freedom to pick from gels or pastes, different colors, and different flavors. Just check the tube label to be sure it contains fluoride.
- Check the condition of your child’s toothbrush from time to time. If it doesn’t look worn after weeks of use, he may not be brushing well.