As the days begin to grow shorter and temperatures cool off, your child begins to think about the annual ritual of dressing up in a costume and running door to door to beg for candy. Halloween is the highlight of your child’s autumn; it is up to you to find the best ways to keep them safe … and that includes keeping their teeth safe as well. Your dentist can demonstrate ways you can be proactive to protect your child’s teeth.
A Parent’s Responsibility
Many parents do not realize that they should begin taking their child to see the dentist around the age of twelve months. This early start in dental care will help steer caregivers in the right direction to help their child maintain optimum dental health during early formative years and beyond.
Your child needs to learn how and when to brush and floss; this requires diligence, supervision, and patience as your child may try to evade this daily responsibility. A reward system works well (as long as the reward is not a sweet treat); trips to the park or a favorite book or game can be awarded when daily oral care goals are achieved.
Daily oral maintenance should be coupled with a healthy diet. The occasional sweet treat is allowed, but should not be daily fare. Fruits, vegetables, dairy, protein, and healthy grains should comprise the majority of the daily diet. Do not allow soda or sugary beverages to be consumed (with the exception of a special occasion) – encourage your child to drink water. This habit can be promoted early with baby bottles and sippy cups.
How Your Dentist Can Help
Your dentist can help educate you and your child. Additionally, topical fluoride treatments are available to fortify protective dental enamel. Teeth not already impacted by decay can be treated with dental sealants that are painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth to close off avenues where cavities are most likely to form.
On Halloween night, instruct your child not to consume anything until you have had the chance to inspect all their goodies. Limit consumption to one or two pieces, and make sure your child brushes before bed. Teach your child early on about generosity – allow them to keep a small amount of their bounty and donate the rest to the less fortunate.