Sweet, Sweet Smiles: Let’s Keep It That Way after Halloween

My kids with their favorite dentist, Robert D. Elliott, D.M.D.,M.S of Cary Pediatric Dentistry
My kids with their favorite dentist, Robert D. Elliott, D.M.D.,M.S of Cary Pediatric Dentistry

How many of you already have candy corn in the house?

It’s OK. Don’t hide them. Halloween candy is one of the greatest things about fall. 

Don’t you think?

That, and pumpkin pie, of course!

But my kids get way too much candy on Halloween night, and their fake orange and purple pumpkins, filled with chocolate, gooey, gummy goodies, stay on my kitchen counters for weeks.

Every night they want to dig in to their pumpkins for a candy dessert.  It could be leading them down a potential dangerous path for tooth decay.

Candies such as gummies, gooey caramel, raisins, and even potato chips are at the top of the list for causing tooth decay.  Kids eat a lot of candy, especially this time of year.  They don’t always brush well, and because of that, it doesn’t really surprise me that oral disease has become the No. 1 chronic childhood disease. 

Sadly, 44 percent of American kids will suffer from pediatric oral disease by the time they reach kindergarten, and more than 2 million kids will have a cavity before they reach second grade.

Those stats scare me!

Being an old-timer, I have silver fillings in my mouth that I probably got sometime before I graduated from high school, and from after having braces.  I would love to see my kids have none.

I took my kids to the dentist last week.  We love our dental practice in Cary with Dr. Robert Elliott, but my two haven’t always been perfect angels in the dental chair.  This year, I even brought my husband along as a reinforcement because on our last visit six months ago, my daughter was hysterical. 

I didn’t want another scene from a horror show. 

Fortunately, we got a good report there, but as expected we could do better brushing, flossing, and rinsing. 

To be honest, the whole family could do better in this area.  My son has been using the Listerine Smart Rinse for a few months now.  We like the rinse, but he doesn’t floss.  I am not even going to say we do it sometimes. We don’t do it.

It’s not always easy to get our 2-year-old to brush at all, much less floss.

Dr. Elliott said that both of our children had some plaque buildup on the front, bottom teeth, and it’s something we need to keep an eye on and change our brushing habits.

These are signs we are failing in our dental routine.

Did you know that brushing alone misses 75 percent of your mouth?

The key to good dental care is to brush, floss, and also use a rinse because it can really help prevent cavities. It acts like a magnet to grab particles left from brushing, and when your child spits out the mouth rinse, you can see the particles right there in the sink – proof that brushing alone is not enough.

Organizations like the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation, better known as the American Tooth Fairy, are helping to educate parents about oral dental care.  This nonprofit organization is working hard to help children get dental care and fight against tooth decay.

They are also challenging bloggers like me to put good dental care in action for my family.  All of us are going to brush, floss, and rinse for several weeks, and then I have to report on my blog how I did.

We also need to brush for at least two minutes. 

Wow! Two minutes. That’s going to be challenging for my toddler, but she’s excited about her new brushes.

We’re equipped with our supplies to make this good dental health habit happen.

And before you make that candy run for Halloween, think dark chocolate this year.  Dark chocolate has tannins in it that help protect the teeth.

Yippee! I’m a big fan of dark chocolate.  My kids?  Not so much.

But as soon as you consume that candy, you need to brush, floss, and rinse.

To learn more about how you can Trick-or-Treat this year for the American Tooth Fairy, and help a child in need receive pediatric dental care visit