Twix, Baby Ruth, Snickers, Nestlé Crunch, and Three Musketeers sit in a pumpkin bowl on our counter awaiting tomorrow night’s trick or treaters. Our house has certainly done our part in purchasing part of the 600 million pounds of candy that are purchased for Halloween and I’d be naïve to think that my kids weren’t going to consume a good deal of what comes home tomorrow night over an extended period of time. In the days that follow Halloween, the selection is always the most appealing with favorite treats tempting them from the candy bowl but as kids who tend to exercise moderation, I let them have candy but with one rule—brush your teeth and brush them well!
Since over 50% of children will have some tooth decay by age 5, Halloween is the perfect time to set a good example and teach kids from an early age how to take care of their teeth. Ensuring that kids six and older are brushing their teeth with an anti-cavity paste or gel that contains fluoride at least twice a day can help prevent tooth decay and cavities.
Fluoride is an anti-cavity ingredient available in over-the-counter (OTC) products. Fluoride can also be found in medicines that contain additional active ingredients that help address other oral health issues like plaque, gingivitis, or tooth sensitivity. Using OTC products with fluoride can help prevent oral infection, the leading chronic disease in kids.
What about if you have a child under the age of 2? It’s still important for them to brush but fluoride-containing products are typically not recommended for children under the age of 2. According to OTCSafety.org, young children who swallow too much fluoride could develop dental fluorosis, which results in a permanent white staining on the teeth. Children under the age of 6 should be supervised in order to develop good brushing and rinsing habits and to minimize product swallowing. They should also use a pea-sized amount of paste or gel to minimize swallowing.
So go ahead and let your kids enjoy their Halloween candy under one condition– that they do a really good job brushing their teeth!
For more information about oral care and fluoride, please visit OTCSafety.org.
I received compensation for this post as part of the CHPA OTC Safety Ambassador Program. All the opinions reflected here are my own and based on my experiences. Images courtesy of OTCSafety.org.