Tooth Decay in Los Angeles
With Halloween just around the corner, it is important to take extra steps in protecting your teeth from tooth decay and other damage. While you may be concerned about what costume to wear for this frightful occasion, be sure to not skip out on daily oral hygiene practices. As children, our dream was always to get lots of candy on Halloween—bags full. However, lots of candy can be a parent’s nightmare. Rather than avoid trick-or-treating, it is important to understand that you can take Halloween as a time to teach your children good oral health habits for life, without depriving them of Halloween treats completely.
Don’t Give an Ultimatum
Yes, a lot of parents want to tell their children, “Halloween candy or cavities, you choose,” but this is not the way to handle this situation—don’t deny your children the Halloween experience. By denying children the joys of trick-or-treating, you could be making candy seem even more irresistible than before, which can lead to other problems. After your children get back from trick-or-treating or a party, go through their bags of candy together. Tell your children to pick the 10 treats they would like the most. The treats that are not picked should be placed out of sight. At this point, you can donate them, or even freeze them for later.
This may also be an appropriate time to teach, or even remind, your children that it isn’t just excess sugar that can lead to cavities—other snacks can as well. Snacks such as pretzels, with starches that stay in the mouth longer, can also lead to cavities—just like fruit juices can as well. By letting your children decide what is a reasonable amount of candy doesn’t send the message that candy is bad, but that, in excess, it can lead to cavities. From this, children then learn how to control their diets, and that what they eat relates to oral health, not just physical health.
Prevention is Key
Prevention is the absolute best approach when it comes to caring for your child’s teeth. This season, remember to do the following to help promote oral health in your children:
- Mix in healthy snacks along with Halloween candy
- Be the tooth-healthy house on the block
- Take the fear out of flossing
- Make tooth brushing fun
This is an excellent time to reinforce the twice a day brushing routine and the daily flossing regimen. Always remember that children will mostly do as they see, so take the brushing and flossing to a new level by showing your children how you brush and floss daily. An ideal scenario is that children, even adults, should brush after the consumption of candy. Additionally, it may also be important to limit the time children are allowed to eat candy. Instead of snacking throughout the day, children should eat candy during a designated time, followed by rinsing away some of the sugar by drinking a glass of water.
Remember that Halloween is an excellent time to contact your dentist in Los Angeles to schedule a checkup. With proper oral health care, you and your family can enjoy the sweets in moderation while having fun this Halloween.