There are plenty of spooky things about Halloween: winding corn mazes, haunted hayrides and beguiling jack-o-lanterns.
But you want to know something truly scary? Sugary treats can cause gingivitis and cavities — which left untreated can wreak all sorts of havoc on your little goblin’s teeth.
Consider this your Halloween survival guide, and make Dream-Dentistry & Sleep Care in Quakertown, PA, your go-to place for cavity prevention and treatment. We offer dental care for the whole family, so be sure to schedule a routine cleaning after the trick-or-treating is over! Give us a call at (215) 804-4777 to make an appointment.
Limiting candy consumption will keep your teeth boo-tiful.
We know. A bag full of sweet treats is hard to resist. But there are ways to make it easier for both you and your child to enjoy Halloween candy in moderation, as well as minimize damage to teeth.
- Make sure your child eats a well-balanced meal before heading out for trick-or-treating.
- Discuss healthy candy consumption with your child before trick-or-treating, including how much candy he or she is allowed to eat each day.
- After chowing down on Halloween candy, drink plenty of water to discourage sugar from latching onto teeth.
- It’s easy to head straight to bed after an exciting evening of trick-or-treating — but don’t forget to brush and floss!
- Discourage routine snacking on candy by using it as an occasional reward for things like completing chores.
- When it’s just too tempting to have a bag of candy in the house, consider giving it to a candy buy-back program. Lots of organizations collect unwanted Halloween candy to send to veterans groups or troops overseas. Search online for buy-back programs near you.
Fill your candy bowl with treats that would make Dracula’s dentist proud.
Even if you don’t have kids of your own who are going out trick-or-treating, you can still encourage dental health by providing your Halloween visitors with teeth-friendly goodies.
Chewy, sticky candy can be particularly problematic for teeth because it gets stuck in hard-to-reach places as you chew. Avoid passing out treats like caramels and bubble gum, as well as sour candies — the high acidity breaks down enamel, making you susceptible to cavities.
Milk chocolate and snack-size bags of pretzels are a better alternative, although the best options are sugar-free gum and dark chocolate. Look for sugar-free gum made with xylitol, which can prevent the formation of plaque.
The American Dental Association has even given its seal of approval to sugar-free chewing gum it considers to be safe and have oral health benefits. Some kid-friendly items on the list include:
- Bazooka Sugar Free Bubble Gum (original and Blue Razz flavors)
- Orbit for Kids Sugarfree Gum
- Trident Sugarfree Gum (comes in fun flavors like “splashing fruit,” watermelon, and bubblegum)
If you want to do something a bit different this year, consider giving kids non-food treats. Glow sticks, stickers, pencils or other baubles are sure to delight.
Halloween is a ghoulishly good time to learn about dental health.
Use the holiday as a way to talk with your kids about the importance of good dental hygiene all year round. Explain to your children the effect sugar can have on teeth and what they can do to keep their mouths healthy.
Encourage them to brush their teeth for two minutes twice a day with a soft-bristle brush. To make brushing fun during the Halloween season — and to ensure that your child is brushing for the recommended length of time — search YouTube for roughly 2-minute kid-friendly songs with a Halloween theme and brush for the duration of it.
Kids, like adults, should also floss daily, since it’s essential for healthy gums and teeth. Flossing helps remove plaque from the spaces between your teeth that aren’t easily reached with brushing. If a child has two teeth that touch, it’s time to start establishing healthy flossing habits, although young children will probably need help. Usually by the time kids are 10 or 11 years old, they can do a thorough job flossing on their own.
Remember: Flossing should not be painful, and flossing too aggressively can cause damage to your gums.
The weeks after Halloween are also a great time to schedule a regular checkup and cleaning, which should happen twice a year. During routine exams at Dream-Dentistry & Sleep Care, we use a special device called a DIAGNOdent cavity detection laser to ensure every tooth is healthy. We also treat teeth with a long-acting fluoride varnish to prevent cavities.
And of course, happy Halloween from all of us at Dream-Dentistry & Sleep Care!