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Many think of Halloween as a dentist's worst nightmare, but Linda Vidone?, D.M.D., of Massachusetts sees it as an opportunity for parents to reinforce good dental habits, not just for their kids, but also for themselves.
In a recent interview with The Boston Globe, Vidone - a dentist from Brookline, Mass., and dental director for Delta Dental of Massachusetts - offered her personal take on the dietary spike that comes with a night of trick-or-treating. When asked if she looks disapprovingly on Halloween, Vidone responded that this time of year was actually an opportunity in disguise.
"I think it's a great time and it's a good opportunity to start talking about teeth and what's good for teeth and promote oral health," said Vidone. "I love how we get so much attention at Halloween."
The way she sees it, Halloween actually serves as a reminder about the importance of good dental health. According to Vidone, now is a great time for people to schedule their annual teeth cleaning appointments, and is an especially good time to reevaluate children's dental development.
Parents should also review their general approach to their family's dental care. Below is advice from Vidone as well as the American Dental Association for parents looking to instill good dental habits in their children.
Schedule post-Halloween teeth cleaning
It's a good idea to schedule annual teeth cleanings a few weeks after Halloween candy consumption has begun, factoring in, of course, how much candy your child has brought home. A visit to the dentist will serve as a helpful reminder about the importance of good tooth care. Dental plans are one alternative for parents looking to maintain their child's dental health, but who lack dental insurance.
Emphasize good habits
Parents may use this time to emphasize the importance of brushing teeth twice a day, and flossing at least once a day, as certain candies are more likely to get stuck between teeth. Parents may also wish to sort out candies that are especially damaging. According to Vidone, the worst offenders are long-lasting hard and chewy candies. Chocolate and powdery candy, however, dissolve quicker and are less harsh for teeth.
Set a good example
Vidone claimed that 80 percent of parents eat their children's candy, citing Delta Dental Children's Oral Health survey. It's important for parents to be role models - eating in moderation, brushing as a family and setting up appointments in conjunction with their children's teeth cleaning can all help to drive home a positive message to children.
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