Halloween is one of the best holidays of the year in the eyes of many children. They get to dress up and be the character they daydream about often, plus they have the opportunity to collect more candy than mom would ever let them get at the store. Meanwhile, you know all that sugar from the candy can do more than just make them hyperactive on Halloween night. You want to protect their teeth. Keep reading for helpful tips from a family dentist in Merrimack on cavity prevention during Halloween.
Move Candy Consumption to Mealtime
A sugar surge is best served with your child’s meal, as opposed to hours away from lunch or dinner. Their saliva production increases while they are eating a meal. Since saliva is helpful to neutralize the harmful effects of sugar in their mouth, this is a good time for them to eat something sweet, assuming they are going to at all.
Drink Plenty of Water
This bit of advice is so helpful in life for many reasons, not the least of which is how water helps wash away food particles and sticky candy lingering on teeth. If your kids are not staying hydrated, they won’t be able to produce enough saliva to protect their teeth. Saliva also removes food particles and neutralizes acids that threaten tooth enamel.
Encourage Their Oral Care
When children are young, they are still looking at the example you set. Be sure to encourage them to brush their teeth twice daily and floss at least once. Have them use fluoridated toothpaste and replace their toothbrush once every three months. Just like you, they should visit their dentist twice each year for a dental cleaning and exam.
Formulate a Candy Plan
If candy is just lying around the house in a bowl, for most children it is like a blossoming flower to a honeybee – they have no hope of resisting temptation. On Halloween night, maybe let each child pick some of their favorites from the candy they collected. Then, you can store their candy in a hiding place to share with them at a later date.
Choose Candy Carefully
Not all candy is created equal – some varieties are much more harmful to your child’s teeth. In general, hard or chewy candy will stay on their teeth longer, while sour candy has an acidity that is tough on their enamel. If your child can develop a taste for dark chocolate, it is relatively harmless to their teeth by candy standards.
Your child can have Halloween candy while not being too hard on their teeth, at least with some helpful planning from you. And these tips aren’t strictly for kids, in case your sweet tooth tries to get the best of you sometimes.
About the Author
Dr. Sajini Shetty earned her dental doctorate from Boston University and then completed her Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) at New Jersey Dental School. She has been helping patients for more than two decades and attended state-of-the-art training at the world-renowned Las Vegas Institute. Dr. Shetty will be happy to further discuss cavity prevention during Halloween (and all year long) at your child’s next checkup and cleaning. Schedule one on her website or call (603) 429-2199.