It’s not Halloween without the candy, but that doesn’t mean your family’s dental hygiene has to suffer.
Read on for some best practices when it comes to caring for your little one’s teeth — and your own — this Halloween season. And when the trick-or-treating is over, be sure to visit Beaumont Family Dentistry in Lexington, KY for an in-depth cleaning.
We’ll fight off tooth decay with sealants and fluoride varnishes, and we use the latest in cavity detection technology to address problems before they turn into something truly scary. Schedule an appointment at one our three convenient locations today.
Limit Your Sugar Intake
It’s hard to resist the trove of treats your trick-or-treater brings home, but moderation is definitely the best policy when it comes to Halloween candy. The bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gingivitis feed on sugar that lingers on your teeth, producing a weak acid that causes cavities.
So if you and your kids will be enjoying Halloween candy this year, it’s best to both limit intake and practice good oral hygiene. Here are some ways to make it easier.
- Eat a well-balanced dinner before treat-or-treating. This will make it less likely that you and your little goblin will chow down on sugary snacks afterward.
- When you are enjoying your Halloween candy, make sure to drink plenty of water. Encourage your children to swish water around in their mouths every once in a while to prevent sugar from sticking to their teeth.
- Don’t forget to brush and floss after trick-or-treating! It’s easy to head straight to bed after an exciting night, but it’s especially important to practice healthy dental hygiene after consuming sweets.
- Prevent excessive snacking on candy by using it as an occasional reward for chores and good behavior.
- Consider keeping only some of your children’s Halloween candy and giving the rest to a candy buy-back program. Veterans groups will often collect unwanted candy to send to troops overseas. Search online to find a buy-back program near you.
Choose Teeth-Friendly Treats
If you’ll be passing out candy this Halloween, encourage good dental health among all your treat-seeking visitors by choosing goodies that are friendly for little teeth.
Avoid sticky candies like bubble gum, gummies, and caramel. These treats tend to get stuck in the grooves of your teeth, making sugary particles hard to remove. This leaves teeth more susceptible to decay and cavities.
Also steer clear of sour candies, which can be very acidic and eat away at enamel. Hard candies are also a no-go, since they can actually break children’s teeth if they’re not careful.
Here’s what you should fill your candy bowl with:
- Chocolate. Treats like M&M’s and Kit Kat Bars are popular with kids, and chocolate washes off of teeth far easier than gummy or sticky candies.
- Snack-sized bags of pretzels. Kids like them, and salty snacks provide a break from all that sugar.
- Sugar-free gum. The American Dental Association has even given its Seal of Acceptance to several brands that actually reduce your risk of cavities.
- Non-food snacks. Trick-or-treaters will enjoy receiving stickers, temporary tattoos or glow sticks so much that they may hardly miss the candy.
Talk With Your Kids About Cavities
Halloween is a great time to teach your children about the importance of good dental hygiene!
The American Dental Association recommends that children and adults brush for two minutes twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, but that 2-minute mark can be difficult to hit.
You can make brushing more fun by playing 2-minute songs while your child brushes his or her teeth. Check out “This Is the Way We Brush Our Teeth,” and Sesame Street’s “Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me” to get started.
You can also swap your child’s manual toothbrush out for an electric one, since many kids find that they are easier and more fun to use.
Children should also be introduced to the importance of regular flossing at an early age — as soon as a child has two consecutive teeth. Younger children will need help flossing, but by the time they are 10 or 11 years old, they’re able to floss on their own.
Good oral health also requires regular visits to the dentist for checkups and cleanings twice a year.
At Beaumont Family Dentistry, we see children as young as 2 years old! During their first visit, which we call a “happy visit,” we teach your child about the dentist’s office, the equipment we use, and help them feel comfortable with the dentist.
We aim to do a full exam, but our priority is ensuring that your child’s first experience with the dentist is a positive one.
Give us a call at 859-223-2120 to learn more about how the high-quality dental care we can provide your entire family.
And of course, happy Halloween from all of us here at Beaumont Family Dentistry!