Sweet tooth: Taking care of your child's teeth this Halloween

Halloween is only two days away, and kids across the country are preparing to suit up, head out, and bring back a haul of sugary sweets. While Halloween can be a fun, exciting time for kids, it can also pose challenges for their dental health.

To help keep kids’ teeth health this Halloween, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has a list of candies to avoid, as well as suggestions for healthier alternatives. Also, many dentists will purchase unwanted Halloween candy from children as part of a nationwide Halloween Candy Buy Back Program that started back in 2005. Participating dentists will pay kids $1 per pound of candy, and then send that candy overseas to people serving in the U.S. military, who also receive toothbrushes so they can maintain good dental health overseas as well.

Experts also recommend regular dental checkups for young children beginning at age one or when the first teeth emerge. But in a 2011 NPCH Report, more than half of parents said their children under the age of three had not yet seen a dentist. In fact, among parents of children age 1-2, only 37% thought the first dental visit should occur at age one or earlier. Read the full report: Many young children off to a poor start with dental health.

Figure 1. Percentage of children who have been to the dentist

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What do you think?
Do you know of any dentists that participate in the Halloween Candy Buy Back Program? What age did you begin taking your child to the dentist? Share your thoughts below and on Facebook and Twitter @MottNPCH.