Dental Hygiene Tips For Everyone to Enjoy Halloween!
Halloween is a fun time of year, but the holiday can be detrimental to your oral health. With loads of sugary treats, Halloween can contribute to dental issues like cavities. Al Berger DDS is available to help keep your entire family’s teeth healthy throughout Halloween with these top oral hygiene tips.
Talk About Oral Health Early
In the day leading up to Halloween, remind your kids about the importance of making smart food choices. Let them know that too much candy and treats not only affect their physical health, but their oral health too. Young children may not understand the connection between excess sugar and cavities. You don’t need to provide a scientific explanation, but let them know that sweets lead to holes in the teeth and form cavities which can change their smile. If you’ve been lackadaisical about following an oral hygiene routine, it is now a good time to restart. Remind the kids to brush twice a day and floss at least once a day. Use fluoride toothpaste and make sure your drinking water is fluoridated. Disclosing tabs and solutions can also be a tool used to help your child take better care of his or her teeth. These solutions temporarily stain the plaque on the enamel to demonstrate how well they are brushing.
Make Smart Candy Choices
Not all candy is created equally. Certain types can be very detrimental to your oral health. Sour candies or gummies are very acidic and can erode away at the enamel. While sticky caramels or hard candies coat the teeth in a prolonged sugar bath. Taffy and jaw breakers are also poor choices since they take a longer time to get rinsed away by your mouth’s saliva. Plain chocolate bars are preferred over these types of candies. Sugarless gum is also another treat alternative since it actually helps prevent cavities. However, if you give out sugarless gum, make sure the child is old enough for it not to pose a choking hazard. When your own child arrives home from trick-or-treating, take the time to sort out the unhealthy options from the smarter options. Discard or donate any candies that you feel will be detrimental to your child’s teeth.
Many homes are now handing out treats such as granola bars and bagged pretzels. Although these foods are better for the teeth than candy, they should also be consumed in moderation since they can promote tooth decay. Many local stores and restaurants also provide coupons that can be redeemed for snacks and menu items at a later time. Moreover, you could forgo food altogether and hand out a fun Halloween-themed item such as stickers, bubbles, or pencils. With so many children having food allergies, parents will appreciate coming to your house and seeing a non-edible option available.
Eat Before Trick-or-Treating
A good way to curb unhealthy dental habits on Halloween is to eat a healthy, well-balanced meal before going trick-or-treating. Prepare a low-sugar, high-fiber meal that will fill them up before they start eating any candy. With filled up tummies, they will be less likely to overindulge in candy. Set a good example to your children by eating a healthy dinner and then limiting how many treats you have throughout the night. You could also time to eat your normal meal with the candy from trick-or-treating. Many of the other foods and beverages that are consumed at mealtimes will help neutralize the high sugar found in the candy. Eating a full meal also increases saliva production, which removes the excess sugar out of the mouth quicker.
Donate the Candy
Trick-or-treating is fun, but you and your little ones don’t need hundreds of candies in the house. Ask each child to pick a certain number of candies to save and donate the rest. Dental providers, community centers, food banks, and veteran centers typically collect unwanted candy during Halloween. Also, this is a perfect place to drop off any leftover candy you had from giving out to trick-or-treaters at your own home. If you decide not to donate the candy, choose a hiding spot in the kitchen that isn’t easily accessible. This allows you to control how much candy your children are consuming each day. When a child requesting a piece of candy, don’t hand over the whole bag. Instead, provide them with only a small piece or two.
Set Snack Times
Allowing you or your child to consume candy throughout the day will not promote good oral hygiene. Instead of snacking all day long, choose a specific time of day to enjoy the candy. After snack time, you can have your child brush his or her teeth. Before brushing, ask the child to drink a full glass of water as a way to wash out any leftover acids in the mouth. Brushing should be done for at least two minutes followed by flossing. Younger children may need assistance with reaching all of their teeth. If you or your child is unable to brush your teeth right away, a piece of sugar-free gum can help neutralize the acids in the mouth from the candies.
If your child complains of tooth pain after Halloween, schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist. Cavities can cause pain and discomfort as well as sensitivity to hot and cold items. Find relief by getting immediate dental treatment.
Visit Your Oakdale Dentist
Make an appointment today for a checkup at our Oakdale office. Our friendly dentistry team will perform a routine examination to check for any dental issues. As part of your checkup, a dentist or hygienist can perform a deep cleaning of your teeth. Professional cleanings remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and gum line. During the appointment, the dentist may also offer a fluoride treatment. Rinsing with fluoride helps strengthen teeth and prevents cavities. Our dentistry office is available to answer all of your questions about protecting your teeth during the holiday season. Keeping up with regular dental checkups, typically every six months, will help keep teeth healthy long-term.