Dental Tips for a Healthy Halloween
The ancient Celts, who inhabited Great Britian and Ireland thousands of years ago celebrated October 31st as a time to honor their ancestors; they often dressed up in costumes to scare ghosts away, since this time of year was also when the veil between the living and dead was supposed to be thinnest. Since that time, Halloween has become an anticipated celebration all around the world, when kids dress in costume and go door to door begging for candy. And while all this candy makes for happy and energetic kids, the sugary sweets can also wreak havoc on their dental health. Sugar builds up and can eat through the protective enamel on their teeth, causing cavities.
Halloween offers a chance for you to teach your children how to stay safe and minimize the damage they do to their teeth.
Here are some tips to keep this time of year pleasant:
1. Know the "best" candies to consume. For your teeth, chocolate might be the best option for keeping damaging sugars to a minimum. Dark chocolate in particular has a compound in it that has been shown to harden enamel.
2. Minimize the Taffy and other Sticky Sweets. Caramel and taffy is terrible to stick to teeth, allowing sugar to eats its way through enamel between brushings.
3. Eat Candy During Mealtime. The production of saliva during meals helps to wash away bacteria and damaging sugars.
4. Eat Dinner Before Trick-or-Treating. A healthy meal before heading out will keep the kids from craving the sweets that they collect until you can make it home to check them.
5. Create a Candy Budget. The average trick-or-treat take can last a month or longer if you teach your children to moderate. Not only with this keep them from gaining unnecessary weight, it will also allow you to deal with the plaque that candy causes in a more manageable timeframe.
6. Reduce Sugary Drinks. This includes soda, flavored waters and sports drinks. When teeth come in frequent contact with beverages that contain sugar, the risk of tooth decay is increased. Halloween gives you a chance to trade candy for the sugary beverages that most kids make a part of their regular diet. Offer to exchange a couple pieces of candy for their favorite soda and you won't be exacerbating an already prevalent problem.
7. Drink plenty of water. Drinking water helps clean the teeth and gums and minimizes the build-up of bacteria.
8. Be More Vigilant about Eating Healthy. The temptation this time of year is to "slack off"on the healthy foods and let your kids enjoy their candy. However, this should be the time instead to discuss how to eat healthy with your children and promote moderation of sweet and sugary foods.
9. Be Safe. Don't keep candy from trick-or-treat that looks like it has been tampered with. Lollipops with no covers. candy bars with tears in the wrapper...it is better to be safe than sorry.
10. Consider non-candy treats. Look here for ideas of non-candy Halloween treats.
11. Consider dentist-approved healthy alternatives to Halloween candy. Look here for healthy alternatives to Halloween candy.
12. Donate your extra Halloween Candy. There is a national website here, where you can check and see if there is a buy back location near you.
13. Don't let them Slack on the Daily Maintenance. This is not the time to let your kids go to bed without brushing and flossing their teeth. Every hour that sugar stays on their teeth is a higher chance of it eating through protective layers.
14. Keep your Dentist Appointments. It is important for kids to visit their dentist regularly to maintain the health of their teeth. By developing the habit of having their teeth cleaned, they will keep them healthy long into adulthood.
Call our offices today to schedule dental cleanings and dental exams for your whole family. Both are necessary to help avoid tooth decay, gum disease, and more.