We want your kiddos to have a faBOOlus Halloween, while keeping those Sugar Monsters at bay!
Try not to snack on candy and sugary drinks throughout the day. Instead eat candy with meals. The increased saliva production during a meal will help rinse food particles from your mouth and neutralize cavity causing plaque acid.
Have a Plan to Limit your Stash
Children see Halloween as an opportunity to get free candy to stockpile for the winter! It’s important for parents to take time to educate their kids about good candy choices. Here’s some great Halloween tips:
Sticky and Gummy Candies
A good rule of thumb, be picky if it’s sticky! Gummies, taffy and caramels are real culprits in the candy world, as they stick to teeth and leave small amounts of residue that are hard to remove without a thorough brushing. When they stick in the crevices between the teeth, it makes it difficult for saliva to wash away and they become potential causes for cavities.
Pass on the pucker! These types of candy are highly acidic and can cause damage to tooth enamel very quickly, especially if they are sticky and coated in sugar. The acidity can weaken and damage the outer hard shell of your teeth, making them more vulnerable to cavities.
Hard Candies and Sugary Snacks
Avoid hard candy and other sweet treats that stay in your mouth for a long time. Unless it’s a sugar-free product, candies that stay in the mouth for a long time increase the risk for tooth decay.
Chocolate is one of the most popular kinds of candy handed out. The darker the better! Not only does dark chocolate contain less sugar than it’s white chocolate or milk chocolate counterparts, but it also contains antioxidants and promotes good heart health. And it’s easier to wash off your teeth than other types of candy.
Chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after meals can help remove food particles stuck in your mouth, however it should not be used in place of regular brushing! It also increases the production of saliva, which neutralizes the acid produced by bacteria. So try chewing sugarless gum instead of candy!
Drink More Water
Stay away from soda, sports drinks and flavored waters that contain sugar! Water is the best choice for maintaining good oral health. The fluoride in tap water helps make teeth more resistant to the acids that can cause cavities and has been shown to reduce cavities from 20%-40%.
Stop Zombie Mouth!
Maintain good oral health year round, not just at Halloween!
- Brush Regularly: The American Dental Association recommend that kids brush twice daily; once in the morning and once before bed, and if possible, after each meal. If your child has braces, it is necessary to brush after any snack or meal to remove food that could get caught in the braces and attract bacteria. On Halloween, once your child has had their portion of candy, no matter what the time of day, make sure they brush their teeth immediately!
- Floss Regularly: From an early age, teach your child how to floss thoroughly. This removes food caught in the teeth, excess plaque and prevents gum disease. To make it easier for your child to get to hard-to-reach places, try using the ready-made floss sticks.
- Make Brushing Fun: Children are far more likely to want to brush their teeth if there is a fun element to the process. One easy tip is to let them pick out their own toothbrush. Some may choose one that has their favorite character or maybe one that’s in their favorite color. Get several options! Learn more in our blog What’s the Best Toothbrush for Kids? Another important point is to keep kids excited about taking care of their teeth. Help them track their progress and establish a routine with fun motivational charts.
- Fluoride Toothpaste: There are also so many varieties of toothpaste for children. If they get to choose the flavor of toothpaste, they will be much more eager to brush their teeth. Just make sure it contains Fluoride! Fluoride helps strengthen the tooth enamel, preventing tooth decay and long-term damage to teeth. Learn more in our blog What’s the Best Kid’s Toothpaste?
- Supervised Brushing: At the age of six, a child is usually ready and able to brush their own teeth, of course under supervision. As you continue to teach your child the importance of oral health, you will want to maintain supervision for several years, until you are sure they know how to brush their teeth well and thoroughly.
Teaching children good dental hygiene at a young age will ensure that they understand the importance of taking care of their teeth for years to come!
Have a Frightfully Fun Halloween!
When your ghosts and goblins aren’t trick-or-treating this weekend, enjoy some fun indoor Halloween activities by the American Dental Association!
Got more questions? We're here to help!
If you have questions or concerns about your child’s teeth, or want to make an appointment for your child’s routine dental cleaning and checkup, please Call (214) 618-5200 during our office hours and our team will be happy to answer questions, schedule an office tour, or book an appointment.