Good Matters™ Blog

Posted on October 20th, 2011

How to Make Brushing a Halloween “Treat”

Posted by Susanne, Associate Brand Manager and resident Registered Dental Hygienist

Did you know that one of the members of our brand team is also a registered dental hygienist? When we need advice on how to best take advantage of our natural oral care product line, we like to ask Susanne.

Dear Susanne,

The nightly struggle to get my son to brush is more than bothersome. We‘ve tried songs, shared sink time, incorporating brushing into bath routine and even rewards! Sadly, he‘s just not sold. I worry that if he continues to view this necessary habit as a chore, his oral health will falter later in life. With Halloween fast approaching, and a multitude of sweets at every turn, I am more determined than ever to protect my son‘s tiny teeth. How do I trick my son into thinking brushing is a treat?

Signed,

Frustrated Mom

Dear Frustrated,

First, kudos to you for all your efforts to make brushing fun for your son! Establishing a regular tooth care regimen should begin at 6 months and sometime after age 4, your child can begin brushing his/her own teeth with supervision. It‘s important to remember that your child will have 20 baby teeth by the time he or she is 2 years old and that the first “adult” molars erupt at age six. Here are some “tricks” to make brushing a “treat”:

Use a great tasting toothpaste that‘s not “too spicy.” Tom‘s of Maine Silly Strawberry is a great choice, and I‘ve even had patients who used to bring in their Tom‘s toothpaste from home and ask me to use it when I polished their teeth!

Brush for a full two minutes using an hourglass style timer so your son can “see” the time he has left to brush.

Let him use a plastic “dental mirror” to “inspect” and count his teeth.

Set up a weekly family brushing chart earning a sticker each time you brush.

Kids in school should rinse after lunch at the water fountain since they can‘t brush.

Also, cheese is a natural cavity fighter. Eating cheese helps prevent cavities by increasing saliva production and reducing acid levels in your mouth, creating a more favorable environment to fight decay.

Don‘t be spooked by Halloween candy. Just brush your teeth after you eat your ghoulish treats. Did you know that tooth decay depends on the frequency sugar is consumed, not the amount? Every time a new amount of sugar is put into the mouth, a new 20 minute acid attack begins.

My four children all needed braces and made it through with NO cavities. If you choose as I did to use products containing fluoride, I recommend rinsing after brushing at bedtime with an anticavity fluoride rinse like great-tasting Tom‘s of Maine alcohol-free Juicy Mint. Kids over the age of six, tweens, and teens rarely spend enough time keeping their pearly whites as clean as they should. Their mouths are bombarded all day by acid attacks from juice, sports drinks and frequent snacking and clinical studies have demonstrated that use of a fluoride mouth rinse in addition to fluoride toothpaste can provide extra protection against tooth decay over that provided by fluoride toothpaste alone.

So… go trick and enjoy your treats…just remember to brush and/or rinse after eating. Happy Halloween!

Smile,

Susanne, RDH

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