These Dental Tips Can Help You Have a Healthier Halloween
Worried about how much chocolate your child will eat this Halloween? Follow these dental tips to help prevent cavities and tooth decay from giving you a scare!
Halloween is a fun and whimsical time of year. Creative costumes, pumpkin carving, and of course, candy, are big hits with the little ones (and some parents!). We love the holiday so much that Americans spent around $8 billion on Halloween in 2016!
For older participants, Halloween might consist of passing out candy or watching a scary movie at home. With the younger fanatics, particularly children, the best part of Halloween in the candy. For parents, however, Halloween can spell a stressful situation.
While a little bit of a sweet tooth isn’t too much to worry about, a few too many candies might mean a trip to the dentist somewhere down the line. Sugar, especially in sticky-sweet confections, can damage your teeth and gums, causing cavities or tooth decay in kids and adults. Thankfully, you and your family can enjoy the holiday while still keeping your oral health in mind by following these helpful tips!
Avoid Sticky and Long-Lasting Candy
While about 90% of all foods contain some sugar or starch, some can be more harmful than others. Candies that stick to your teeth while you eat them and long-lasting sweets can linger in your mouth, leaving tooth enamel exposed to harmful acids. Try to avoid treats like gummies, taffy, hard candies, and caramels (to name a few) whenever possible.
Eat Candy With Meals
To help minimize damage to the mouth from sweets, especially if your child insists on having a something like a lollipop or sour treat, time their consumption around meals. After dinner, let them indulge in a piece of candy. The saliva production from their last meal will help to fight those harmful acids and lingering bits that can erode the teeth. Another reason to eat candy around meals is that you should be brushing your teeth shortly after eating, anyhow! Remember to wait for at least 30-minutes, though, as brushing any sooner might do more harm than good.
Follow a Candy Plan
If your family has trouble keeping their hand out of the candy jar, set aside time before the holiday to create a candy plan. Before you go trick-or-treating with your children, talk to them about the dangers of going overboard with chocolates and candies. Not only can they get cavities and toothaches, they can get tummy aches, too! Separate the candy, decide what you are going to keep, and put it somewhere out of sight while designating a few pieces a week. Some of our parents even donate their leftover treats to local organizations!
Replace Sugary Drinks with Water
If you’re planning to keep most of your Halloween haul, you might want to consider making some substitutions to your family’s diet. Instead, Dr. Williams suggests replacing sugary drinks with water. Since you’ll likely get thirsty after indulging in candy, water will not only satiate your thirst, but it can help to wash away any leftover food particles. Sodas and sweet teas can encourage further deterioration since they can also turn into acids in the mouth.
Don’t Use Candy As a Snack
It may seem harmless to enjoy a couple of pieces a day between meals as a mid-day or midnight snack, but it is quite the opposite. Snacking, in general, can increase your risk of cavities, which is why many dentists stress the importance of healthy eating – particularly in between meals. Developing a plan for your Halloween candy is a great way to control sugary urges. Foods like fruits and veggies make for great snacks instead of candy.
Suggest a Candy Swap
Another great way to reduce candy consumption is to offer your kids the option to replace their candies for other rewards. The best option is healthier treats like yogurt, celery slices, and other veggies or fruits. But, as most kids aren’t known for their sophisticated palate, it can be difficult for picky kids. If you’d like to stay away from food altogether, consider letting them cash in candy for small toys or games.
Teach Your Family Healthy Eating Habits
Speaking of healthy eating, if you haven’t already, consider changing up your family’s eating habits. If you normally enjoy eating healthy foods that are low in sugar and starches, a bit of candy afterward won’t do as much harm. We mentioned fruits and veggies are good alternatives, but you can also incorporate leafy greens and lean meats into your diets, especially around Halloween! However, if you’re enjoying a bloody burger with potato chips or acid-rich foods like citrus or tomato sauces, candy will be double-trouble for your mouth.
Don’t Forget to Brush
Following a regular dental care routine is important year-round, but it is especially vital to stay on top of brushing, flossing, and rinsing your mouth around Halloween time. Remember, you should be brushing twice a day for two minutes each time. After brushing, don’t forget to thoroughly floss your teeth to get any hard-to-reach bacteria that was left behind! You should follow that up with a fluoride mouthwash. Talk to your dentist about the best options for your kids!
Above All, Enjoy a Safe Holiday
The best part of any holiday is ensuring your family remains safe and has a good time! If you are concerned about Halloween candy, plan ahead! Some behind-the-scenes tips include limiting the amount of houses you visit or the size of their trick-or-treat bag, which your child likely won’t notice. Keep up with regular dental visits, as well. You should be visiting your dentist every six months to stay on top of any possible oral conditions. At Williams Dental and Orthodontics, our staff delivers top-quality care and attention to patients in Skiatook, Oklahoma. Contact us , https://www.williamsdentalok.com/ or 918-396-3711 to schedule your first consultation with Dr. Williams today!