Healthy Halloween Choices Lead to Healthy Teeth
There are few holidays that children relish more than Halloween. Halloween seems designed to make children happy.
What other time of year do they get to dress up in a fun costume (maybe as their favorite superhero, princess, or television character)?
What other holiday’s main event is going around collecting candy and other treats? It’s a dream come true for sugar-hungry children.
The Trick: Sweets Cause Tooth Decay
Unfortunately, this dream come true for children is a nightmare in the making for dentists as preventative care is thrown out the window. As children gorge themselves on sugary sweets all the work put towards keeping their teeth clean is quickly forgotten.
Children’s bodies are complex, and every time a decision is made about foods eaten and drinks consumed both their general health and the health of their teeth and gums are affected.
So, any time they consume too many sugary snacks like candy, soda, or sweet fruit drinks they greatly increase the risk for tooth decay. Tooth decay happens when plaque comes into contact with sugar in the mouth, causing acid to attack the teeth.
The Treat: Three Preventative Care Dental Tips for Halloween
The good news is, you don’t have to entirely give up Halloween celebrations to stick with your child’s preventative care plan. Here are a few tips on how to ensure that your child is making healthy Halloween choices.
- Choose Your Candy Wisely. Not all candy is created equal, at least in terms of dental health. Since the length of time sugary food is in your mouth plays a role in tooth decay, the less time the sugar is in contact with your teeth the better! So, always avoid sticky candies like caramel, gummy bears, and taffy. Also, hard candies, unless they are sugar- free, should be avoided.
- Limit Candy Consumption. Another way to encourage healthy decisions while still enjoying Halloween candy is to limit when the candy is consumed. If you limit your child’s candy consumption to meal times saliva production increases and helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and helps rinse away food particles. Also, you can encourage your children to brush their teeth when finished, which also reduces the risk of decay.
- Avoid the Candy Binge. After going trick-or-treating have your child give you their bag of delicious treats and set up a system for when your child can have the candy they have gathered. That way you avoid the traditional binge that children tend to have when confronted with such a huge amount of candy. Also, this gives you a chance to go through their candy and throw out sticky candies.
Even though Halloween seems like a holiday where you have to throw your child’s preventative care plan out the window, it is clear that there are many ways that you can use this holiday to teach your children about healthy dental habits. These Halloween candy tips are just the beginning.
Rather than eliminating candy entirely, you can help them form healthy dental habits around candy. This includes making wise choices about the candy they eat when they eat it, and the amount they eat. All three of these tools will be useful as your child gets older and makes more decisions on his or her own.
If you want to learn more about developing a preventative care plan for your child consider coming to Sea of Smiles! At Sea of Smiles, we pride ourselves on offering the best pediatric dentistry in a child-friendly environment.
Both of our kid’s dentist offices in Yardley (267-392-5878) and Bensalem (215-433-1840) can provide excellent dental care for your children. If you’d like more information about Sea of Smiles please contact our offices today to schedule an appointment.