When it comes to holidays, there are few that involve the consumption of candy more than Halloween. With so many types of candy available out there today, the last thing you want your child to do is develop cavities before the end of the year is up! That’s why it’s so important to keep these Halloween candy tips in mind as the holiday gets close. Doing so could mean the difference between keeping your child’s teeth healthy and having to pay for an expensive filling or crown later.
Only Eat Candy Following a Meal
When you’ve recently had a balanced meal, it keeps the production of saliva in the mouth relatively high and consistent. This allows your child to fight back against harmful plaque acids that break down and degrade teeth, while also ensuring that you remove loose food debris from the mouth. Keeping saliva production high while your child eats candy is essential. The last thing you want is for their mouth to be dry as they eat food containing high amounts of sugar. Treat Halloween candy the same way you would treat dessert after dinner.
Avoid the Worst Offenders
While chocolate is one of the most ideal Halloween candies for your child to eat, other candies are actually far more likely to get stuck on and in between your child’s teeth. This includes gummies, which are notoriously difficult to remove via brushing and flossing. Additionally, you should avoid hard candies however you can, as they stay in the teeth for long periods of time and can even crack teeth if they are bitten into the wrong way. Furthermore, sour candy and sour gummies should be avoided at all costs as their acidic ingredients are very harmful to tooth enamel.
Stay Hydrated and Chew Gum
During trick-or-treating as well as after the night is over, make sure your child is getting enough water. Staying hydrated is important regardless of the time of year, but consistent water consumption keeps the mouth hydrated and works to wash away loose food debris from the deep pits and crevices of your child’s teeth outside of oral care. They should also chew ADA-approved gum, such as sugar-free gum made with xylitol.
Last but not least, you should always take the time to help your child practice their oral care if they need assistance. After consuming candy, tell them to wait at least 30 minutes before they practice oral care so that their mouth’s pH levels can become more balanced. Brushing and flossing right after eating candy is a bad idea because the enamel is soft after being exposed to high amounts of sugar. This makes it more likely that they will erode away enamel as opposed to cleaning it of plaque. Make sure they brush twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste and floss at least once a day.
If your child has not been scheduled for their next dental appointment, now is the time to do so!
About the Author
Dr. Nicholas Brong earned his dental degree from the University of California in San Francisco. As a father himself, he understands the importance of keeping his children’s oral health in check during all holidays of the year, not just during Halloween. To learn more about his practice or schedule an appointment, you can contact him through his website.