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Healthy Halloween Habits

Posted on October 29th, 2013 by Dr. Nikoo Daftary

Halloween marks the beginning of the holiday season, which means trick-or-treating candy, Thanksgiving apple pie, and Christmas cookies. The result is dentists seeing an increase in dental cavities. Your kids shouldn’t have to miss out on holiday treats, but here are some ways to teach them good dental habits, such as eating sweets in moderation.
1. Give out healthier treats. Avoid giving out sour candies that are high in acidity, as these erode tooth enamel; as well as sticky, chewy or hard candies. Candy that is sticky and chewy leaves sugar directly on teeth for a prolonged amount of time, and hard candy can cause damage to teeth. Plain chocolate bars are better alternatives to these types of candy.
2. Perform a safety check. Look through your child’s Halloween bag after trick-or-treating to be sure there are no dangerous items. Have your child look with you to explain the decisions you are making and teach them good habits.
3. Sort it out. Encourage your child to eat the healthier treats and avoid the tooth-damaging candies mentioned above. They have high acidic levels and/or stick to teeth longer, causing more damage.
4. Limit availability. Candy should be enjoyed in moderation. Don’t allow your kids to have their Halloween bags in their bedroom, and allow them one or two each day.
5. Donate. Often, kids don’t end up eating all the Halloween candy they received, so consider donating the leftovers. You can also store them away for a later event.
6. Brush up! Set a certain time of day your kids can have Halloween candy, like after dinner, and make them brush teeth right after. This not only keeps teeth clean and healthy, but also teaches them good oral health practices.
These are great practices for Halloween, but don’t stop these good behaviors once the holidays are over. Follow these recommendations throughout the entire year so your kids will take what they learn about oral health into adulthood.
 
Courtesy of the RR Star
http://www.rrstar.com/article/20131026/OPINION/131029481

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