Halloween can be a scary time, not only for kids, but for parents, too. Here are 12 tips to keep in mind this October to maintain your child’s dental health, including the best and worst halloween candy for your teeth.
Ah, fall. Everyone’s favorite time of year. The air becomes crisp, the leaves change colors and there’s plenty of hot apple cider to go around.
But it also means Reeses pumpkin cups and other sugary goodies will also soon overflow your child’s trick-or-treat bag. And while candy, like anything else packed with sugar, is fine in moderation, having too much could take a serious toll on your dental health.
Most people are aware consuming too much sugar can present some serious health issues, such as obesity and diabetes. You can add an unhealthy mouth to that list, as too much sugar can lead to tooth decay.
So how do you partake in a holiday that’s all about collecting and consuming high volumes of candy, but keep your teeth healthy, too? Follow these 12 tricks and you won’t be scared to see your dentist after Halloween.
- Stick to chocolate. It may have sugar, but it is less likely to get stuck in the grooves and pits of your teeth. Also, dark chocolate has some health benefits — it is packed with antioxidants, and studies show it could lower the risk of heart disease.
- Avoid chewy, sticky candy. This is what gets caught in those grooves and pits, which can lead to trouble. Stay away from it, if you can resist.
- Steer clear of hard candies. Candies that stay in your mouth for a long time can contribute to tooth decay. Unless it is sugar-free, opt for another sweet treat, as hard candy can actually break teeth.
- Pick and choose. Limit availability by having your child pick 15 or so of their favorite goodies. Toss or donate the rest.
- Avoid sugary drinks. More sugar means more risk for tooth decay. When your child is already eating more candy than usual, it is best to stay away from sodas, juices, and other sugary beverages.
- Drink more water. Drink some optimally fluoridated water to help prevent tooth decay.
- Distribute healthier goodies. Pretzels, granola bars, and cereal bars are all excellent alternatives to candy. It’s also a good way to teach your child about choosing healthier options.
- Give your child Halloween candy during or shortly after mealtime. Our mouths produce more saliva at mealtime. More saliva helps counter acids created by bacteria in your mouth. It also washes away lingering food particles.
- Stick to a healthy diet. Fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats — make sure your child is receiving the nutrients he or she needs to keep his or her body, including teeth and gums, healthy.
- Bring your child in for an appointment. After Halloween is a good time to get a professional cleaning, exam and fluoride treatment. This goes for adults, too.
- Remain calm. Children who have good home care, no cavities, and get regular cleanings should be fine over Halloween.
- Brush and floss. Of course, this last tip goes without saying. Brush and floss your teeth in the morning and before bed.
Taking precautions to remain cavity-free are important to maintain dental health, and to keep your child’s smile wide. Stick to these 12 tips and you won’t fear a visit to the dentist after Halloween.