REACH: Save your teeth and your health on Halloween

By Wyatt Hornsby

Did you know tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic disease of early childhood in Colorado? Tooth decay is five times more common than asthma and can lead to painful cavities, missed schools days and many other problems affecting a childs development and self-esteem.

The good news is that cavities are preventable in nearly every case.

With Halloween and a season of sweet treats upon us, its important for parents to know how they can help protect their kids teeth from sugar bugs, which can lead to decay and painful cavities. Here are some tips for families to consider adopting:

When you return home from trick-or-treating, separate the good candy from the bad candy. Consider discarding sticky, chewy candies, which can be hard on your childs teeth and difficult to remove with brushing. Instead, allow your child to eat soft candy, such as chocolate, that dissolves in her mouth.

Set a designated time each day for your child to eat Halloween candy. Dont allow your child to graze on candy all day. When kids graze on candy all day, their teeth get bathed in sugar over a long period of time and that can lead to decay and painful cavities. Remember that high-sugar foods are detrimental to oral and overall health in kids and adults.

Brush together immediately after your child has eaten candy. By brushing together, youre ensuring your childs teeth are clean from all that decay-causing sugar and youre also modeling healthy behaviors that will past a lifetime. Plus, brushing together can be a great bonding experience and a lot of fun.

Parents might also consider giving trick-or-treaters something other than candy. Did you know almost one in four parents hand out non-candy items, such as fun erasers, glow sticks or temporary tattoos? A great way to get that extra candy out of the house after the holiday is to trade it in for fresh fruit and prizes at the LiveWell Halloween Candy Swap Nov. 7 and 9. Click here for information on the events and more fun, healthy Halloween ideas.

Please visit or www. for Halloween candy tips and more information on brushing together.

Wyatt Hornsby is the director of the Brush with Me Campaign of the Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation. The foundation is collaborating with LiveWell Colorado on various components of the campaign, including a promotores de salud program.