We are very concerned about the oral health of our youngest patients. At the same time, we understand that you want your children to enjoy one of their favorite holidays of the year! The following tips from Eastern Slope will ensure your children can enjoy the holiday while protecting your family’s teeth over the next few weeks!
1) Be Careful Which Treats You Choose
Although sugary snacks aren’t so great for your teeth, chocolate is notably better than other types of candy like gummy bears, Skittles, and Starburst. Chewy candies get trapped between and around your teeth, as you might guess, while chocolate washes away more quickly. Even better? Did you know that dark chocolate is one of the healthiest candies for your children? One reason is that it’s easy to clean off their teeth!
2) Give Teeth a Break from Hard Candy
Kids and hard candy are a recipe for disaster, according to dentist families everywhere! This is because lollipops, butterscotch candies, and Jolly Ranchers dissolve slowly in the mouth. In other words, teeth and gums are soaking in sugar for extended periods. Hard candy can even cause chipped or broken teeth! Try to limit these sugary snacks if possible.
3) Practice Good Daily Oral Hygiene
It is essential to brush twice a day and floss at least once a day year-round, but this becomes especially important during the weeks after Halloween when candy consumption increases.
According to family dentists, if your children are eight or younger, you should brush their teeth for them (after they’ve had a turn) in the morning and evening. You should also help them floss every night before bed. Furthermore, if candy is consumed at any other time of day, your children should brush their teeth as soon as possible after eating the treats.
4) Drink Plenty of Water Each Day
Family dentists always recommend our little patients drink water as much as possible. This recommendation is partly because juices, sodas, and other sugary drinks are terrible for little teeth – something you’re probably familiar with yourself. Less-known fact: water helps clean the mouth and wash away sugars and bacteria. This, in turn, leaves less in the mouth to cause problems. If you fluoridate tap water, it also aids in preventing tooth decay.
5) Schedule Your Candy Consumption
Instead of eating or munching on sweets all day, have your kids pick their sweets deliberately at specific intervals. For instance, after lunch, you could allow them a piece of candy; and after dinner (with brushing planned afterward). Saliva cleanses food particles and germs from a child’s mouth while they eat meals. Eating sweets immediately after meals can help keep candy off the teeth longer.
6) Give Graciously
Let’s be honest. Our children don’t need pounds of candy each Halloween. After they go trick-or-treating, have your children choose their favorites, then donate the rest. One option for getting rid of your extra Halloween candy is to send it to troops overseas through a program like Treats for Troops. Another option is to search for local candy buy-back programs by Googling “candy buy-back” with your zip code.