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It’s spooky season! That means horror movies, autumn decorations, trick-or-treating, and…Halloween candy. For dentists and parents, there’s nothing scarier than a giant bag full of Halloween sweets.
Candy and cavities can go hand-in-hand. Therefore, minimizing tooth decay risks this Halloween season is important. Your children will thank you later.
To prevent Halloween candy-related cavities, follow these eight tips:
1. Use a small bag while trick-or-treating
The less candy that finds its way into your home at the end of Halloween night, the better. Ultimately, eating less candy is better for your child’s oral health and helps prevent cavities.
By taking a smaller bag for trick-or-treating, you limit how much candy can be brought home.
2. Set expectations
How much candy can be eaten on Halloween night? Will there be a daily candy limit? What about when the candy can be eaten?
Setting these expectations early can make the whole event much smoother.
3. Avoid sticky, sour, and hard candy
While no candy is healthy, some varieties are often worse than others.
Sticky candies are called that for a reason: they stick to your teeth. Remnants of taffy, gummy bears, and caramels are difficult to remove, even with diligent brushing and flossing.
The remaining bits of candy can cause rapid tooth decay.
Sour candies, on the other hand, aren’t great for your oral health either. These types of candies are acidic, which leads to the breakdown of tooth enamel.
Any candy that lasts for a long time should be avoided. Hard candies (and lollipops) stay in the mouth for extended periods of time.
They dissolve slowly, coating the teeth in sugar as they do. Bacteria in the mouth turn this sugar into acid, leading to cavities.
4. Provide treats only during meals
It’s best to incorporate treats into mealtime or immediately after. This is because the increased saliva levels during meals help to combat bacteria and the acids they produce.
Additionally, saliva rinses away some of the leftover candy particles, which can lead to more acidity in the mouth.
Furthermore, having a specific treat time (for example, immediately after a meal) reduces the likelihood of uncontrolled snacking.
Not only are your children more likely to consume more candy if they are permitted to snack frequently, but the very act of constantly snacking is also problematic for their oral health.
When you consume sugary treats throughout the day, your teeth never have a break. The inside of your mouth stays acidic, and these acidic conditions wear down tooth enamel and cause cavities.
5. Eat healthy meals
We all know the importance of eating a healthy, balanced diet. Consequently, it’s vital that your family continues to eat well no matter how tempting the Halloween candy is.
If everyone fills up on a healthy, balanced meal, then there’s less room for sweets. Furthermore, you’re less likely to crave something sweet if you’ve just had a filling, satiating meal.
6. Drink more water
The best drink to pair with your balanced meal is not something sweet and sugary. It’s water! Water is great for your teeth and overall oral hygiene. It washes away sugars that cling to your teeth, feed bacteria, and cause cavities. Additionally, water balances the pH levels in your mouth.
7. Brush and floss
Preventing Halloween candy cavities (and cavities year-round) requires diligent oral hygiene habits.
Your family members must brush their teeth twice daily for two minutes. They should also use fluoride toothpaste and replace their toothbrush every 3-4 months.
Additionally, it’s important to floss once a day. Flossing tackles the bacteria lying between the teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. It also removes plaque and food particles. If not removed, the bacteria and food particles can turn into cavities.
As well, have your child brush soon after eating candy. This quickly removes harmful bacteria and acids, which helps prevent cavities from forming.
8. Professional dental care
Regular dental appointments for your kids are an essential part of everyone’s oral health. Dentists can diagnose cavities long before your child begins to feel a toothache.
It takes a long time for most dental issues to become painful, making it all the more important to stick to your dentist’s check-up schedule.
Visiting your dentist or dental hygienist is a key part of preventing cavities all year round, not just after Halloween. And if you are unfortunate enough to have a cavity, they can deal with it quickly before the tooth decay worsens.
We can help with everything from regular check-ups and cleanings to dental implants and root canals. Plus, you’ll always be greeted with a friendly smile!
To find a registered dental hygienist in Toronto, call Bloor West Smiles at 647-371-1407 or contact us here.