Halloween is just around the corner and that means that Halloween candy is about to be very available to your children. While you do want to make sure that your kid’s teeth and gums are healthy, keeping them from participating in one of the most fun, kid-friendly holidays of the year can be kind of harsh.
So what are you, as a parent, supposed to do? On the one hand, you want to make sure that your child has a fun Halloween with a cute costume and trick-or-treating without ruining their teeth. On the other hand, you want to make sure that your child doesn’t feel deprived - this can form unhealthy habits, making them want more candy and be more likely to sneak or hide candy.
Luckily, you can toe the line between letting your kids enjoy the holiday and making sure that they aren’t overindulging in Halloween treats. Emphasizing certain candies and treats while limiting others can significantly help your little one’s teeth from being at risk during the Halloween holiday.
STAY AWAY from These Halloween Treats
Sticky and Chewy Candy, Gummies, Taffy, and Dried Fruit
Candies, gummy worms, salt-water taffy, and yes, even dried fruit can be damaging to teeth because of how sticky they are. Small particles of these chewy treats will get stuck in hard-to-reach-places in your child’s mouth, making it harder for them to be cleaned away by a toothbrush or saliva.
Warheads, Sour Patch Kids, and other sour candies have high levels of acid, which is really bad for teeth. Acid from sour candies will promote erosion of protective tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay. Chewing sugar-free gum or eating crunchy foods to stimulate saliva production will help counteract the acid by lowering the pH balance in your child’s mouth. Be careful not to brush your child’s teeth for 30 minutes after eating sour candy, though! Brushing soon after your child eats sour candy can actually spread the acid around your child’s mouth, exposing more of their teeth and gums to the acid.
Cookies, Cake, and Candy Corn
Halloween parties can be a minefield with regards to sugary treats – cake, cookies, and candy corn by the handful! Limiting the number of cookies, brownies, and other sweets can dramatically help your child’s teeth remain healthy.
DO Provide These Halloween Treats
Sugar-Free Lollipops and Hard Candies
While still not the best thing for your child’s teeth, hard candies and sugar-free lollipops are better than nothing. They provide less sugar and less acid than other types of candy and actually can promote saliva production. Saliva helps to neutralize the acid, dissolve food particles, and lower the pH balance of the mouth.
As gum can easily get caught in your child’s hair or stuck to clothes, we’ll leave it up to you whether you want to let your child chew gum. That being said, sugar-free gum can help keep your child’s mouth healthy and free from decay. There’s no sugar to promote acid production, the chewing motion helps dislodge food particles that could be stuck between teeth, and it promotes saliva production.
Snack-Sized Pretzels, Crackers, or Trail Mix
It’s important to remember that snacking shouldn’t go overboard just because it’s Halloween, but snack-sized bags of pretzels, crackers, and trail mix can make an excellent compromise between vegetables and candy. This is especially so if you get the Halloween-themed packages! These kinds of snacks are not sticky, aren’t high in citric acid, and aren’t high in sugar either, making them much easier on little teeth.
Consider Implementing a “Buy-Back” Program
A “buy-back” program can help keep your child excited about Halloween without the focus being on the candy. A “buy-back” program is just as it sounds, your child will trade in some or all of their candy for something else. You can do this a couple of ways: you could offer a penny per piece of candy, so even if your child comes home with a candy bag bigger than they are, the overall cost for you could be no more than $10-$20. You could also offer small toys as a different incentive, where they get a few toys from the dollar store based on the weight of the candy they turned in.
Contact Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry today
Whatever steps you take to protect your child’s teeth this Halloween, remember to contact your Chapel Hill pediatric dentists at Southern Village. A check-up and cleaning can help prevent long-term tooth decay, so please call us at 919-967-2773 or request an appointment.
Southern Village is very excited to be hosting our client appreciation event in a few weeks, right here at the Southern Village Green! We’re so thankful for every single patient and family we see, so we’re giving back with a party. That’s why Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry has teamed up with Chapel Hill Children’s Clinic, The Tumble Gym, Village Pediatrics, and Chapel Hill Daycare Center to put on this fantastic event!
Join us for a day of fun, filled with face painting, music, balloon art, bounce houses, a magic show, food, drink, and more! We’re celebrating how much we love our patients, and we’re also celebrating some great anniversaries too: Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry is turning 10 years old, Village Pediatrics is turning 11, and Chapel Hill Day Care Center is turning 50!
Here are the details:
- Where: Southern Village, on the Village Green
- When: September 23rd, 2017, 10 am – 2 pm
- Who: Families and kids of all ages!
Admission is free, so we can’t wait to see you there! For more information and updates, please visit https://www.facebook.com/events/298717070537112/
We’ll see you on September 23rd!
It’s Time for Back-to-School Dental Checkups!
While the heat and fun of summer are certainly not over yet, Labor Day and the start of the new school year are creeping closer and closer with every blistering hot day here in Chapel Hill. That means back-to-school shopping, errands, and appointments, and scheduling your child’s dental checkup should definitely be one of them.
Catching Dental Problems Early Will Keep Kids in School
Unlike popular belief, the number one health problem that keeps children from attending school is dental work, either from being signed out for major dental work or for the recovery time required after major dental work keeping them from going back to school. In order to prevent the underlying dental issues that contribute to having to leave school to see their pediatric dentist, ensuring that your child has regular dental checkups is key to pre-screening bigger problems down the road. With the amount of free time that kids have during summer break, this is the optimal time to visit the dentist and have dental work done when there’s no school to miss.
Start the New School Year Off with a Clean Slate
As with many new beginnings with children, the best way to acclimatize them to a new school year is to stick to a routine. As the years go by, ensuring that the same back-to-school routine is in place will help them get ready and get excited about going back to school, which makes it the perfect time to incorporate a dental checkup.
Back-to-school is all about new, clean, and revamped things – new clothes, unsharpened pencils, and being healthy and ready for the new year. This includes any medical checkups too – so keeping your child’s dental checkup appointment scheduled as a part of the back to school routine ensures that your child goes back to school healthy.
Your Child Needs a Dental Checkup Twice a Year
The importance of routine and pre-screenings are vital, but even more important is that your child sees their dentist for a checkup and cleaning once every six months. While that may seem like common knowledge, it can be easier than you’d think to forget to ensure that your child is visiting the dentist regularly. Ensuring that you schedule a back-to-school appointment not only keeps your child from missing school and keeps them on a routine, it helps you to remember the season of the appointment and to keep to it.
Think of it like it’s a part of the back-to-school checklist: you want to make sure that your child has everything they need to be happy and healthy at school, so why not make dental health a part of that checklist?
Schedule your child’s back-to-school dental appointment in Chapel Hill today
Ensure your child’s teeth sparkle on their first day back school by making an appointment with Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry for a checkup. Call us at 919-967-2773 or request an appointment.
Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry was excited and proud to be a sponsor of this year’s Touch-A-Truck event in Chapel Hill! The event was held on its rain date of April 30th at the UNC Friday Conference Center, and was hosted by the Boy Scouts of America Troop 39 Chapel Hill. With over 2,700 attendees and 300 volunteers, the event raised nearly $30,000! The proceeds went to benefit the NC Children’s Hospital and Troop 39’s Scouting Programs.
The annual event is a super fun time for both kids and parents: kids of all ages are able to get up close and personal with over 70 different kinds of trucks, cars, and emergency vehicles. This year, there were fire trucks, ambulances, race cars, buses, construction trucks, and even a helicopter to touch!
In addition to the many cool vehicles that were available to look through, there was an amazing Kid Zone, filled with Kidzu activities, inflatable slides, face painting, and a card making station to make cards for kids in the NC Children’s Hospital. Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry set up a booth too, and offered great monster-themed bean bag toss games – and the boards were hand-made by Dr. Hardin and her kids!
Food Truck Alley was present, with many delicious food trucks offering scrumptious snacks and ice cream. There was entertainment too, from the award-winning Bouncing Bull Dogs and a demonstration from Neil’s Taekwondo. In addition to ticket sales, many local businesses sponsored the event’s silent auction, which earned a substantial amount for the NC Children’s Hospital.
Touch-A-Truck was hosted by Boy Scout Troop 39. While the majority of the proceeds are donated to the NC Children’s Hospital, the remains are to be used for Troop 39’s scouting activities and programs. Troop 39 is one of the oldest continuously chartered Scout Troops in the US, many Troop 39 scouts achieve Eagle Scout, and the Troop performs thousands of hours of community service.
We’ll see you at Touch-A-Truck 2018!
Contact Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry
If you want more information about Touch-A-Truck or other local events that Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry sponsors, or if you’re interested in a dental appointment for your child, contact us at 919-967-2773 or request an appointment.
Establishing good dental habits early in your child’s life is a great idea. Overall consistent daily dental habits and routine dentist visits can help your child begin life-long oral health, and save them from troublesome cavities and dentist bills.
However, keeping your child’s teeth and gums healthy can feel like a full-time job. Between visits to the dentist and twice daily brushing and flossing, kids tend to think of dental hygiene as a real chore. As a parent, you’re constantly trying to find good ways to keep your kids interested in things that are good for them, so how do you keep them interested in keeping their mouths healthy?
Here are four fun ways to help your children engage with keeping their mouths healthy and their smiles beautiful:
Let Them Choose Their Own Toothbrush and Toothpaste
When you’re a kid, it feels as though you’re getting told what to do most of the time – what to eat, where to go, what to wear, even with what toys you should play. Any time your child gets to choose something for themselves, it’s a real treat. Allowing your child to pick out their toothbrush and toothpaste gives them some control over their oral habits and helps engage them.
Now, that doesn’t mean that they get to choose the most expensive brush or the toothpaste that’s full of sugar. If needed, you can select several choices for them to pick from – it’s not the objects, but the perception of choice that makes a difference.
Make Brushing and Flossing a Family Affair
Many parents are always looking for activities that involve the whole family. Now you can make tooth-brushing time family time too. Your children will look to you first in how to act in most things, and dental hygiene is no different.
If you make dental hygiene something that the family does together, it will seem like more of an activity instead of a chore they have to do every day. This allows you to supervise their brushing and flossing habits to ensure your child is brushing properly and it also ensures that you yourself schedule your own dental hygiene every day.
Have a Tooth-Brushing Dance Party
With small teeth come small attention spans. It can be hard for your child to stand in one place for several minutes while they brush their teeth – so boring, Mom! You can add some spice and fun to your child’s oral hygiene routine by adding music. Pick upbeat songs that are two or three minutes long – this way you can have them brush while they dance so you’ll know that they’ve spent enough time brushing and they’ll know when to stop. Choose a few songs that will become your traditional brushing songs and only use them when your child brushes – it helps keep your child’s routine going!
Devise a Gold Star System
Giving your child an incentive to maintain good oral health every day is an excellent way to keep them on track with brushing and flossing. A “Gold Star System’ where they get gold star stickers for doing their whole brushing routine correctly not only helps maintain the habits but also gives them a sense of accomplishment every time they receive a new one. You can even take the system one step further by offering rewards when they earn a certain number of stars: an afternoon at the park, 15 extra minutes on the iPad, or a trip to the movie theater.
Contact Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry for more tips
We’re committed to keeping our patients healthy and educated, and we make it a priority for them to know how to take care of their teeth properly. For more advice or for your first appointment, contact Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry by calling 919-967-2773 or request an appointment.
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