(Make the tooth brushing routine a fun one for your kids with singing toothbrushes and fun toothbrush holders from Kohl’s)
By Brittany Anas
To dentists, the creepiest characters every Halloween are cavities. And while we wish upon a pumpkin that you don’t hit a house on your trick-or-treating route that doles out toothbrushes instead of candy (because there’s usually one in every neighborhood), we’ve got some advice from friendly dentists to help keep your kids’ smiles safe.
- Avoid the candies that make your dentists cringe. Those sticky, chewy candies are known cavity-causing culprits, according to dentist Connie White. She’s talking about sweet treats in the gummy, taffy and caramel family. They get stuck in the pits and grooves of your teeth making it almost impossible for saliva to wash it away.
- Brush after you eat. Encourage your kids to brush their teeth soon after they eat candy. If you don’t have a toothbrush with you, give them a glass of water to help swish away the sugars.
- Hold off on brushing if the candy is sour. White says sour candy is most likely acidic, so it’s best to wait at least 30 minutes to one hour before brushing. If you brush you teeth right after eating acidic candy, you spread the acid onto more tooth surfaces and leave the erosive components on your tooth enamel.
- On Halloween night, let your kids eat candy — only after they’ve eaten a healthy dinner. Dentist Mark Malterud says chewing during a meal stimulates saliva — which has protective enzymes and minerals to cleanse teeth and protect against cavities. Plus, when kids eat dinner — they are likely to have “less room” for candy.
- Pass out sugar-free gum: Do your part. When trick-or-treaters ring your doorbell, be armed with more teeth-friendly treats. The Academy of General Dentistry suggests sugar-free suckers or hard candies. Your best option, though? Sugar-free gum because it can help ward off cavities, according to Malterud. It dislodges food particles from between the teeth and increases saliva to help wash away sugars.
- Brush and floss daily: Kids should be brushing their teeth at least twice a day in two-minute intervals and flossing once a day. It’s really crucial they brush before they go to bed, otherwise sugar will stick to their teeth all night long and up their cavity risks.
Tip: Make toothbrushing a fun ritual for your kid. There are singing toothbrushes that will help them time how long they’ve been brushing and fun holders — like this Jumping Beans Fish Tales Holder or this Lucky Duck holder, both from Kohl’s, where you can get 3.5 percent Cash Back. For older kids, check out the Sonicare Healthy Tooth Set.
Read more articles about Kohl’s here.
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