The childhood years of trick-or-treating for Halloween fly by, and before you know it, your kids will be in high school. It's important to savor these moments and enjoy the holiday, but it's also crucial to pay attention to their oral health. Our Boulder family dentist has a few "tricks" for protecting your family's teeth.
Guidelines for Candy Consumption
Some children self-regulate while others want to devour their sugary bounty Halloween night. There are a few ways to monitor how much candy your family eats. You can have your family members pick their favorite candies and consider donating the remaining amount. Or, allow your children to have a set amount of candy on Halloween and slowly dole out the rest in the coming weeks.
Avoid snacking on the sugar-laden stash and save them for a treat after meals. That goes for both parents and kids. It's easy to snack throughout the day and grab treats from the candy bowl, but this ups your chances of developing cavities. Your mouth produces more saliva during meals and shortly after to help rinse away food particles and acids caused by bacteria. Eating sugary foods or candy around mealtime can lower the risk of tooth decay.
Stick to Tooth-Friendly Candies
The worst tooth offenders are sticky and chewy candy, such as gummies, caramel, taffy, and bubble gum. These treats get caught in the crevices and grooves of your teeth, which makes it difficult for saliva to wash them away. Sour candy is highly acidic and can break down tooth enamel (the protective, shiny outer layer of your teeth). Your family doesn't need to stay away from these candies altogether—it's more important how often these treats are eaten.
Crackers, pretzels, and milk chocolate are slightly better Halloween candy for your oral health, but dark chocolate and sugar-free gum are the best. Dark chocolate actually stops bacteria from sticking to your teeth and contains antioxidants. Sugar-free gum prevents bacteria and plaque from forming because it stimulates the growth of non-acidic bacteria and protects the teeth.
The Importance of Fluoridated Water
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends drinking fluoridated water to promote stronger teeth through "remineralization‚" and prevent cavities. Fill some water bottles with tap water to bring with you while trick-or-treating and encourage your kids to rinse their teeth by swishing the water in their mouths. If you decide to bring bottled water, make sure it's fluoridated.
Understanding Oral Health and Dental Hygiene
Halloween and all holidays that promote eating sugary foods call for extra brushing. Supervise your children on Halloween night to make sure they brush and floss. You can also have them rinse with a fluoride mouth wash for 30 seconds. Have them brush right away after eating candy in the following weeks, and you can even make it a family event. The ADA and our dentist in Boulder recommend:
- Brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste.
- Replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months or when the bristles are worn.
- Flossing every day to reach crevices and places your toothbrush bristles can't reach.
- Visiting your family dentist regularly for teeth cleanings and dental exams to prevent problems and catch issues early.
Contact Adler Advanced Dentistry in Boulder
Our dentists hope these dental tips and tricks help you have a tooth-friendly Halloween. Schedule your dental exam and cleaning at Adler Advanced Dentistry in Boulder today by calling (303) 449-1119. We serve patients in surrounding Colorado areas, including Denver and Fort Collins.