Fall is upon us, and Halloween is right around the corner! Halloween is a day full of fun costumes, scary movies, and, of course, mountains of candy. While your neighborhood dentist may not be so excited about the upcoming holiday, your children are! Help your children have a happy and healthy Halloween by following these ten tips to promote good oral health.
1. Know the Best Candies for Their Teeth
Although any dentist would most likely argue that no candy at all is the best option for their dental health this Halloween, we all know that it is next to impossible to avoid candy entirely if they have a particularly sweet tooth. Fortunately, some candies are better for their teeth than others and can be enjoyed in moderation.
Sugar is to the mouth what a herd of cows is to a grass pasture, meaning that it strips kids teeth of what protects them from cavities. When children consume sugar, bacteria in their mouth produce acid to digest it. While saliva washes away some of the acid, if large amounts of sugar are consumed, saliva may not be able to wash it away completely. This process can cause a variety of negative health effects, such as erosion of the tooth’s enamel. For this reason, sugar-free candy is preferable to other candies which contain sugar. However, sugar-free candy may also contain chemical substitutes which can damage other aspects of their oral health, so it is always best to consume in moderation.
Candy with Nuts
Sticky, sugary candy can easily stay on and in between their teeth, causing cavities to form. Candies with nuts in them are more easily able to break up the sugar that is stuck to their teeth. While this decreases the chances of cavities forming, there is also an added benefit of the nuts being able to break up plaque that may be on their teeth, too. Talk about a win-win!
When it comes to candies that are best for their oral health, chocolate can’t be beat. Chocolate only resides in the mouth for a short period of time, as it is easily washed off their teeth by saliva or water. This means that chocolate doesn’t stick around long enough to do great damage to your oral health. Dark chocolate can also have numerous other health benefits, like improved brain function, in addition to benefits to their oral health.
2. Encourage Kids to Drink Water After Treats
When your kids consume sugary candies, their mouth produces acid. Even when your kids are done eating their candy, their candy may not be done with them. There may be an excess of acid in their mouth and on their teeth that their saliva can’t wash away on its own. Drinking plenty of water can aid their saliva in washing away the acid so that it’s harder for it to stick around to cause cavities or tooth decay.
3. Eat Candy at Mealtimes
Your kids will jump for joy when you tell them that they can have candy for dinner. Eating candy with meals is less damaging to their oral health, as saliva production is highest during mealtimes, meaning that it will be able to wash away the acid from the sugary candies better. Plus, your kids will vote you Parent of the Year.
4. Minimize Candies that Stick
Sticky candies like Skittles, Starbursts, taffy, and caramel are the prime offenders of candies that are bad for your children’s oral health. As they chew these candies, the sugars not only stick to their teeth but stick in between them, as well. The candy can hide out here even after kids brush their teeth, causing opportunities for tooth decay, and cavit.
5. Ration Candy
Establish an appropriate amount of candy for your kids to consume over a specific period. Not only will this help you mitigate the oral health impacts of their Halloween candy but will also teach them a lesson in moderation!
6. Wait to Brush Their Teeth After Candy Consumption
After consuming sweets, be sure that they brush their teeth well, but have them wait about an hour to do so. While it may seem unnatural, let their mouths do their jobs in breaking down the leftover pieces of candy that may be on their teeth. Brushing these pieces against their teeth may do more harm than good.
7. Chew Sugarless Gum Afterwards
Chewing sugarless gum after eating candy can stimulate extra saliva production your kid’s mouth. Extra saliva in their mouths means that they are more effectively washing away the acidity that the sugar has left in their mouths and on their teeth. Plus, you can counteract any bad breath at th same time!
8. Consider Alternatives to Candy
While it’s probably not the most popular choice for kids on Halloween, it may be the most effective at cavity prevention. . Other foods that are not as detrimental to your child’s oral health can prove to be worthy stand-ins for the piles of candy they would have consumed. Fresh fruit is sweet without the added sugar that is in candy, and it can satisfy your child’s cravings without damaging their teeth.
9. Consistent Maintenance
During this time, it is more important than ever for your children to be consistently brushing and flossing their teeth. The American Dental Association recommends that children should brush their teeth at least twice a day. Make sure that your kids aren’t slacking when it comes to caring for their teeth so you can avoid all kinds of oral health problems.
10. Donate Leftover Candy
If your kids are feeling particularly generous this Halloween, there are several different ways you and your child can go about donating their unopened candy. You and your children can donate candy to United States’ troops through organizations such as Operation Gratitude. Locally, you can donate your Halloween candy to the organization of your choice, but make sure to call and check with them first, as COVID-19 restrictions may prevent them from accepting donations. By donating their Halloween candy, you can teach your child about the importance of giving and avoiding dental health issues !
Treating You to the Best Dental Care in Knoxville, TN
Halloween can be a particularly difficult time to take care of your child’s teeth, but the first step in maintaining good oral health is to be aware of the dangers to it. Sugary candies that children will no doubt consume on Halloween can be counteracted by following our expert tips and by having a quality dental care provider.
At University General Dentists, we are proud to provide family dentistry services that give you and your loved ones something to smile about. We believe that dental care should be thoughtful, attentive, and catered to you. We offer numerous services from routine cleanings to full smile makeovers, always utilizing state-of-the-art technology and modern dental therapies, so you can be sure that you are receiving top-notch care.
We are happy to serve you from either of our two convenient locations. You can easily book an appointment online or give us a call to schedule. you can give us a call. Reach our University of Tennessee Medical Center office at 865-305-9440 or our West Knoxville office at 865-500-5700.