Halloween is around the corner and children are excited to go trick or treating around their neighborhoods. It’s their time to collect bags of free candy and build a stockpile of treats for the winter. While eating candy is fun, excessive candy treats can pose a variety of health and safety challenges to children and especially to their teeth.
Dental cavities are one of the most common reasons for children to be in pain and miss school. Here a are few tips to help your children’s mouths stay healthy during Halloween and all year round!
Frequently snacking on candy causes bacteria in your mouth to produce acids, thereby causing dental cavities. It would be better to eat candy (and other sugary foods) with meals or immediately after so that the increased saliva produced with the meals can wash away the food debris and acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth.
Avoid candy that stays in your mouth for a long time as it increases the exposure to the acid produced by the bacteria. Hard and sticky candy like caramel, taffy, and gummy bears take longer to be washed away by saliva and increase the risk of cavities.
While keeping all that candy around can be tempting, your teeth will thank you if give away your candy. Keep your favorites and donate the rest.
Always remember to eat a healthy, balanced diet to maintain your dental and general health.
Soda, sports drinks, and flavored waters contain sugars and increase the risk of tooth decay. Drinking fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay. We encourage you to drink water to quench your thirst instead of sugary beverages.
Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal helps reduce tooth decay. Chewing gum increases saliva flow which helps to wash out food and neutralize the acid produced by bacteria. You could even use sugarless gum as a treat instead of candy.
Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with a fluoridated toothpaste and replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. The important time to floss and brush your teeth is at night time before going to bed as saliva production is decreased and thereby increasing bacteria activity while you are asleep. Flossing your teeth removes decay-causing bacteria between teeth where toothbrush bristles can't reach. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.
Regular visits to your dentist for exams and cleanings can help prevent decay and any problems that can occur before they require more extensive treatment.