It’s that time of year when our kids get a free sugar overload! Although Halloween is a fun time for trick-or-treating, all the sweets and candy can wreak havoc on their teeth. We have top 4 tips for a healthy, Halloween smile.
TIP #1: MODERATION IS KEY!
One recommendation: only let your children eat their candy after their dinner. Keep in mind, your kids are brushing their teeth soon after their meal. The timing of this activity reduces the chance of plaque build up and minimizes the potential for bacteria to fester on teeth.
“At a meal time, they’re already introducing food into their mouth. Go ahead, and have that candy as a dessert,” said Dr. Lela Farmer, Scuba Smile for Kids.
The lesson of moderation applies to you too, parents! If you leave a bag of candy or bowls of candy laying around the home, the chances of eating candy at all times of the day is high. You can put away the candy in drawer to keep it out of sight.
TIP #2: TOSS HARD AND STICKY CANDIES
Hard and sticky candies are among the worst sweets for your mouth. When you eat a piece of hard candy, you either suck on the candy and keep it in your mouth for a long period of time, or you bite on the candy which may end up chipping or breaking a tooth. With sticky candies, the sugar tends to stick in the contours and grooves of your teeth. And unless you brush your teeth right after eating the candy, the sugar will sit on your teeth for a long stretch of time.
“Encourage your children to go home and sort it out. All the stickies go straight in the trash and they can keep all the chocolate that they want,” recommended Dr. Farmer. “It’s going to help them prevent cavities, while letting them still have a little bit of Halloween fun.”
TIP #3: BRUSH AND FLOSS
This should be a no-brainer, especially if your kiddos are going to be eating candy. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends placing your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. You need to make sure you gently brush the teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day. With flossing, it is recommended that you use about 18 inches of floss. The ADA has a helpful step-by-step guide.
TIP #4: DRINK WATER
The cavity-creating bacteria living in our mouths, feed off the residue of candy. If you drink plenty of water, the particles stand a better chance of getting washed away. The fluoride in our water also helps to protect our teeth, and is considered one of the nature’s better cavity fighters.