Preventing Cavities Halloween Edition
It’s that time of year again. Leaves changing colors and cool breezes begin to fill the air. That only means one thing: Halloween is right around the corner.
Your kids are excited to dress up as their favorite super hero, princess and television show characters. And, of course, they can’t wait for the candy. They’ll come home with pillow cases full of it, and take out each piece and barter with their friends and siblings for the candies they love. They might be the type to stuff their faces and eat as much as they can at once, or they may save pieces to make their stash last longer.
Whatever their method of madness is for this holiday, we have some tips to help your child’s teeth stay healthy while consuming those sugary treats. After all, cavities can be pretty scary, so we want to eliminate them.
First, we suggest not banning candy altogether. This can only lead to your child obsessing over the candy, and wanting to eat even more than normal. So, just be sure to preach moderation to your child. Not having any is no fun, while eating too much of it isn’t good either. Find that happy medium, and you and your child will be happy.
After you figure out what your happy medium is, we suggest allotting times for your children to have the candy. It’s best to give a few pieces right after a meal. This is the best time because your mouth produces saliva when you eat, so after your child eats a meal, there will be a lot of saliva in the mouth. This helps wash away the sugars from the candy that want to stick to your child’s teeth. The candy and sugar being washed off teeth is important because it fights off cavities. If your teeth don’t have sugars on them, then the bacteria can’t feed and form those unwanted cavities.
If you don’t give them candy with a meal, that’s okay too, they just won’t have as much saliva in their mouths to help the sugars detach from the teeth. Either way, make sure your child brushes and flosses extra well after consuming Halloween treats to get all of the candy’s sugar off the teeth.
Now for the tough part: trying to steer your child away from candy that is absolutely terrible for their teeth, but that may also be their absolute favorite. Gummy, sticky and chewy candies are the worst for your mouth because they are harder to get off your teeth than chocolate candies. When the sticky, gummy and chewy pieces get left behind on your child’s teeth, it leaves more time for bacteria to feed on the sugars, and therefore, more time for cavities to form. We’re not saying completely ban these types of candies, but really try to limit them as much as possible. If your child loves lollipops, gummy bears and taffies, make sure they brush and floss extra well so they get all of the sugars and tiny leftover pieces off their teeth.
We also suggest you use this time to teach your child the importance of dental health. Explain to them why they should brush and floss after they eat, and why sugars can be bad if they consume a lot. By practicing good dental health with your children when they’re young, and teaching them why it’s important, they will grow up with good dental habits. Make it a fun learning experience for your child, and they’ll love taking great care of their teeth.
Don’t let the giant pillow case of candy scare you too much, and don’t let it replace the good, healthy meals and snacks your child needs. Keep everything in moderation, and practice good dental health so that there will be nothing spooky about your child’s next dental appointment.