With seven children, trips to the dentist can be quite the adventure. Since my children were young we’ve always emphasized good dental habits because frankly, I didn’t want to pay for fillings x 7!
When they were very small, the dentist would line them up against the back wall and do their exams standing up since there wasn’t enough room in the chairs for all of them.
We’d usually have high fives all around when all seven would be declared cavity free, once again. Over the past 22 years we’ve only had three cavities! I’d consider that a success.
With the largest candy holiday of the year only a few weeks away, now is a great time to teach your kids how to scare those cavities away. So what are my tips for keeping the cavities at bay?
Drink Lots of Water
While my children love fruit juice, sodas and other beverages, we’ve always encouraged our children to drink water throughout the day and with their meals. This is especially important in the evening hours. I’ve known families who put their children to bed with a sippy cup full of juice, which is basically like giving them a cup of sugar!
I purposefully didn’t buy soda or juice when my kids were little, because I wanted them to drink as much water as possible.
Limit Sticky Sweets
When your child comes home with a bag full of candy, it’s okay to remove many of the biggest cavity causing candies, like sticky sweets, gummies, and lollipops. Your child will probably have so much candy they won’t even notice if you take these cavity causing candies.
In addition to removing some of the worst offenders, limit the amount of candy your child is allowed to have each day. Don’t let them store their candy in their bedroom or a place where they have easy access to it. I remember one year, I found about fifty candy wrappers under one unnamed child’s bed after Christmas. That was the last time we let them keep candy in their room when they were little!
Set Them up for Success
We make sure each child has their favorite color toothbrush, toothpaste they like, and we helped them brush and floss when they were little. We sing brushing songs, use timers (and timer toothbrushes), and even got them little cups so they could swish and spit like the big kids.
Once they were older, our orthodontist recommended ACT Kids Anticavity Rinse* (recommended for children 6 years of age and older) which can deliver the power of fluoride to all of the surfaces of your children’s teeth to help prevent cavities, strengthen tooth enamel and protect their teeth.
My kids LOVE using ACT Kids Anticavity rinse and beg to use it regularly. It’s an easy way to prevent cavities that they never forget to do.
When my children were very young, we brushed their teeth in the bathtub. Instead of getting the bathroom counters covered in toothpaste and mess, everything washed down the shower drain when they were done. (I have some adult friends who still do this!)
At Christmas time, when cookies, candies, and sweets seem to be everywhere, my kids get a toothbrush in their stocking every year. Hopefully it helps remind them to brush after they eat all their chocolate!
Reward Cavity Free Trips to the Dentist
Years ago I met someone who paid their children $10 each time they went to the dentist and they were cavity free. Considering the cost of a filling was about $75, $10 was a bargain!
I loved this idea and decided to try it with my own kids. My kids look forward to going to the dentist because of the free goody bag and new toothbrush, but also because they know they are going to earn $10 if they keep up the good dental habits between visits. Even though it hurts the pocketbook a bit when I’m paying out $10 per kid, it’s still cheaper than filling one cavity.
Trade the Candy for Cash!
Once after my nephews had an exceptionally large trick-or-treating candy haul, my brother had an excellent idea. He allowed his boys to sample some of their favorite candies and then offered to buy their entire bag from them. Since the boys were saving up for some electronics, they quickly decided to trade in their bags of sugary sweets for some cash.
If you don’t want to trade candy for cash, you can trade candy for a special event (trip to the zoo or museum), a toy, or something else your child really wants.
This year, don’t let the upcoming candy filled holidays scare away all the good dental habits in your kids. Start these habits now, before the candy comes through the door and help prevent your kids from dealing with cavities down the road.
Do you have a great tip for keeping the cavities at bay?
Leave a comment sharing your tip and be entered to win an awesome anticavity prize package, which includes better-for-you snacks, ACT Kids Anticavity Rinse, fun certificates for the kids and much more. ACT provided me with one of these “Anticavity Goody Bags” and is offering one to a lucky winner, as well.
Giveaway is open only to US residents ages 18 years of age or older. A winner will be selected using Random.org on October 24, 2016 and will be notified via email or message on social media.
*ACT Kids Anticavity Rinse was ranked as the #1 recommended children’s mouthwash by pharmacists in the 2016 OTC Guide from Pharmacy Times.