Halloween is sneaking up on us, which means it is the time of year for children to collect bags of free candy and build a stockpile of sweets that will last all winter. We enjoy sweets and celebrating holidays with our family too, but we want to provide some helpful hints to get through the sugary Halloween holiday with the healthiest mouth possible.
Time It Right
Save Halloween candy (and other sugary foods) for after mealtimes. This lets our saliva production (that has increased during the meal) rinse away extra food particles and also cancels out the acids produced by bacteria in your mouth.
Choose Candy Carefully
Most of us are aware that the acidic sugars in sweet snacks can lead to cavities. Parents can help lower the chance of tooth decay by sorting out the candies that are most sticky or slow to dissolve (i.e. licorice, Laffy taffy, suckers) – these types of candy tend to cling to teeth and also cause an acidic oral environment for an extended amount of time. A better example would be chocolate or ones that melt or dissolve easily because they are more readily washed away from teeth by your saliva.
Limit Your Stash
It’s tempting to keep that candy around, but your teeth will thank you if you have a plan to minimize the amount of candy available. One great idea is to have your family pick their favorites and then donate to rest. Operation Gratitude is one example of a wonderful organization that takes donated candy and then sends it overseas to our troops.
Another quick idea is to put excess chocolate in your freezer, where it will keep for up to six months. This helps prevent having candy out in plain-sight where it is tempting to snack on all day long. This candy grazing habit would keep the oral environment too acidic for too long, and your saliva wouldn’t be able to keep up.
Drink More Water
Drinking fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay; if you choose bottled water, look for kinds that are fluoridated. Also, try to minimize sugary beverages consumed throughout the day, this includes sodas, sports drinks, and flavored waters. When teeth are coated by sugary beverages, the risk of tooth decay is increased.
Fight Decay After All The Sweets
Encouraging all these healthy habits for your family after Halloween candy consumption can help ensure dental health. Remind everyone to be extra diligent with their home-care and take extra precautions to fight dental decay during the holidays.
- Make sure your family is brushing twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste. Around Halloween, it is a good idea to add a third brushing session after a candy treat or even just midday.
- Increase your flossing routine to 1-2 times daily. Sticky candies, like fruit snacks or caramels, can get trapped between teeth and flossing helps to remove them from hard to reach places.
- Add a fluoridated mouth rinse to your home-care routine around Halloween and the holidays. A mouth rinse is a great way to remove unwanted sugars and strengthen your teeth.
- Offer healthy snack options to balance out the sugar intake. Munching on fresh carrots, celery, apples and other healthy produce can scrub away plaque buildup and sugars in your mouth.
- Chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after meals or sugar intake will help increase your saliva flow and wash out food while neutralizing the PH levels in your mouth.
We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information call us today to answer all of your questions so get an appointment.