It’s no secret that dentists don’t love the sugary part of Halloween—but with all of the damage that typical candy can do to your children’s teeth, who can blame them? Thankfully, you don’t have to let Halloween scare your dentist the next time your child comes in for a check-up! The following are some tips and tricks that will help your kids enjoy a Halloween treat while still keeping your dentist happy.
Tip: Encourage your kids to eat their candy with meals (or right after dinner)
Yes, you read that correctly! The reason why it’s better for your kids to eat candy with dinner, or right after dinner, is because eating meals increases saliva production in the mouth. Saliva can help somewhat cancel out the harsh acids produced by bacteria that is produced in the mouth when you eat sugary foods.
Tip: Don’t let them snack on candy throughout the day
Instead of letting your kids grab a piece of candy now and then from their trick or treat bags, encourage them to have a “candy time” where they eat a few of their treats at all once. Eating candy throughout the day greatly increases the risk of cavities because it leaves plenty of time for cavity-causing bacteria to grow.
Tip: Avoid hard candies or anything that gets sucked on
Hard candies, suckers/lollipops and any treats that stay in your kid’s mouths for a long time should be avoided. The longer the sugary treat is in your child’s mouth, the greater the chance for tooth decay. Instead opt for candy like chocolate bars, M&Ms and anything else that can be eaten in one-go.
Tip: Don’t let them eat candy right before bed
Sure, gorging on candy after coming in after trick or treating is a tradition: but don’t let your kids eat a bunch of candy right before bed. The reason for this is that you need to wait at least 30 minutes after eating to brush your teeth; otherwise you may be doing damage to your enamel. If your kids have just chowed down on sugary treats, they will be effectively pushing the sugar into their teeth. Make sure that you give your kids a time limit and cut off the candy about 30 to 45 minutes before it’s time to brush their teeth and go to bed.
Tip: Water, water, water!
Water is great for keeping teeth healthy. It can help rinse away some of the sugars and bacteria that build-up on the teeth after eating candy, and it will help your children stay hydrated and healthy on Halloween night.
Tip: Be extra vigilant with tooth brushing and flossing around Halloween time
During Halloween season, make sure that you are extra vigilant when it comes to your kids flossing and brushing their teeth in the morning and at night. It’s more important during this season to stay on top of brushing and flossing, since candy increases the risk of tooth decay even more so than other foods.
And remember: Halloween is once a year, so make sure to have fun!
For more information, visit your friendly (and fun) dental team at The Center for Advanced Dentistry in Beachwood, Ohio today!