Shorter days and the dropping temperatures are signs that fall has indeed arrived… and Halloween is just around the corner! Kids’ Halloween dream – hoarding lots of sweet treats – can be their parents’ nightmare.
Does the thought of Halloween treats and its effect on your kids’ oral health enough to give you the chills? When your child eats sugary food or drinks, the sugars mix with dental plaque, producing acids. This acid attacks the enamel, the tooth’s outer layer. Lasting at least 20 minutes, a bacterial acid attack on the tooth can lead to cavities, and eventually, loss of tooth.
Don’t worry, it is possible to be mindful of your kids’ oral health and still let them enjoy the holiday. Here are some tips from your Dallas dentist that can help your family maintain healthy smiles on Halloween, and throughout the year.
1. Not all candy is equally scary. Hard candy and chewy treats are more damaging to the tooth because they spend more time in contact with the teeth and are harder to break down. Go for sweets that dissolve in the mouth faster, such as miniature candy bars.
2. After trick-or-treating, discard sticky or hard candies like caramels, sugared fruit snacks, or lollipops, as they expose the teeth to sugar for a longer time. Encourage your child to drink water and to brush thoroughly after eating sweets.
3. Proper timing is crucial. Encourage your kids to eat sugary foods or candies shortly after a meal. This is because saliva production increases while eating, helping rinse away food particles and cancel out acid-causing bacteria in the mouth.
4. Have a plan. Use smaller trick-or-treat containers. This will encourage your kids to get fewer candies from each house they visit, so that they can visit more homes in the neighborhood.
5. Encourage your child to practice good oral hygiene. Ensure that they floss and brush regularly, and make it a habit to visit your Dallas dentist for preventative dental care.
There is more to Halloween than trick-or-treating and eating sweets. Make Halloween a fun-filled family activity. Get moving! Instead of driving your kids from house to house, encourage them to walk. Halloween can be a wonderful time to talk to your kids about making smart eating choices and moderation. Have a plan, and discuss with them how much candy they will be allowed to take from every house.