By the time you read this blog, Trick or Treat visits and parties will be finished. Halloween sweets will have just begun to attack your children’s teeth with the mouth monsters of tooth decay. Dr. Troy King and the staff at “Dentistry for Children” in Orlando, join the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry in special combat mission.
Halloween vs. Dentists
We are making an effort to prevent the 9 billion dollars’ worth of candy from assaulting the teeth of 41 million American children, ages 5-16.
In the next two weeks, as the supply of gathered candy becomes depleted, we urge parents to choose carefully the types of treats children eat from this Halloween’s bounty.
Do Not Allow Halloween to Win
Remember that not all sweets are equal in their propensity to allow decay. Sticky candies like caramel cling to the teeth long after having been eaten. The Mouth Monsters, “Ginger Bite us, Tartar the Terrible and Tooth D.K.” love sugar to cling on teeth for hours so bacteria can set up housekeeping and decay, wounding the tooth and causing pain. Safer treats are dark chocolate and sugar-free gum.
Some parents are just resigned to a certain amount of decay this time of year, but we say, “Don’t Give Up!” Cavities do not have to be a way of life!
We want you to establish control with these simple parental tips. We can minimize the risk of serious decay with these few simple pointers:
1. Make a Snack Schedule: Do not allow continuous snacking. Schedule it and control it.
2. Take Post-Snack Combat Measures: If your children cannot get to a toothbrush after your snack, of a couple of pieces of candy, at least watch that they drink lots of water.
Drink, rinse, swish and, if you pardon the expression, spit, then repeat. Water will help to “dislodge any particles that can get stuck in the teeth,” offered AAPD President Dr. Jade Miller.
3. Stickiness is an especially bad feature of sugary candy.
4. An Apple a Day Keeps Away Tooth D.K.:
Remember that apples and crunchy carrots are delicious. If they are eaten after a candy treat, they actually can help dislodge those dangerous tiny particles.
5. Allow a Buy-back! Here’s an idea: Give a child a choice: between a non-food treat and a piece of candy. Stickers, crayons, notepads, little bracelets or tiny trucks, stick-on tattoos. You can get an assortment of these small trinkets and treasures by the basket-load at Michael’s Arts and Crafts Stores.
These little items are usually stashed in basket-bins, up close to the front of the store, near the cash registers. They are not major gifts, but just little “treats.”
6. Night Time is Tooth-paste Treat Time!
Basically, no one goes to bed without brushing and flossing. The sweet perils of Halloween notwithstanding, we predict that soon your child will grow to love the feeling of going to sleep with a clean-tasting mouth. This is a treat in itself, and the beginning of a rewarding life-long habit.
You can find more information at the American Pediatric Dentistry online resource. We also recommend you take the cute personality quiz, “What’s Your Candy Personality?” which can be found at My Children’s Teeth.
About Halloween, 2017
In addition to children with existing tooth decay, Halloween can be a tricky time for children with food allergies. Peanuts, peanut butter, chocolate, gluten, dairy, eggs—you name it! We hope you are aware that many familiar Halloween treats are unsafe for the child with allergy or sensitivity.
The program, FARE (Food Allergy, Research and Education) has answered Halloween’s challenges for such children: Teal Pumpkins! A teal pumpkin on your porch as Halloween decorations will mean you give out non-food items!
Likewise, you can download a free sign that explains to Trick or Treaters you have non-food treats available! With a teal plastic pumpkin container full of mini-note-pads, tiny cars, beads, pens, stickers and other non-food treats, you present “an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option.”
So, mark your calendar now for next year; “pick up some inexpensive toys, and place a teal pumpkin and/or a free printable sign from FARE outside your home for Halloween 2017!