It’s the time of year that every dentist secretly dreads: Halloween. Not because of all the frightening costumes and decorations – we’re not that big of wimps! No, we dread Halloween because of a different specter: the ghost of tooth decay!
At Northwest Dental Group we’ve been providing tips for parents and kids to be safe during candy-chomping season for years. We want to do the same for you today! Don’t think we want to eliminate all the candy from this scariest of holidays. We just want you and your children to enjoy it responsibly!
Sugar And Your Teeth: Not A Great Match!
We all love sweets. After all, they are delicious! But when it comes to “things good for your teeth” sugar-filled treats don’t rank very high. In fact sugar is one of the worst things you can eat for your mouth and your body – but do you know why?
It isn’t the sugar’s fault you get cavities. Well, not directly. There’s bacteria in your mouth that make up the plaque biofilm that forms on your teeth during the day. That bacteria loves sugar just as much as you and your kids do! When the bacteria eats it they metabolize it into acids that destroy your tooth enamel. That’s where cavities start!
Acid attacks from plaque bacteria last a half hour after you consume your last bit of sugar. Long periods of snacking just equal longer acid attacks – bad news for Halloween snackers! Just think – three pieces of candy every half hour leads to an hour and a half of constant attacks on your teeth!
Preventing Tooth Decay
It’s essential that you and your children know the best ways to prevent tooth decay during Halloween and the snack-filled days that follow. By following these tips you can prevent expensive and time-consuming treatments later on!
- If you want to limit snacking right after trick-or-treating we suggest feeding your kids a big, healthy meal before going out. If you stuff them with the right stuff they’ll be more likely to ignore the bad stuff later!
- Your children may want to indulge when they get back, and if so let them! This is their opportunity to eat a bunch of candy without feeling bad about it. You can start working on the discipline and candy rationing the next day.
- Snacking on sugar is best done with a nice big glass of water. Water helps wash away sugar stuck in the mouth, bacteria, and acids. It can go a long way toward promoting healthy teeth!
- To keep the candy consumption to a minimum try making your children ration it! Give them the choice of a few pieces each day and don’t let them have any more. This can help teach self-control and keep their teeth clean at the same time! If you want you could also give them the opportunity to earn more candy by completing tasks around the house!
- Did your kids take pillowcases with them to trick-or-treat? Does anyone need THAT much candy? If you’re concerned that your kids may have ended up with too much candy we have a solution for you: a candy buyback at both our Rochester dentist offices! On November 2nd from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. we’ll be buying back candy for a dollar a pound (up to 5 pounds)! We’ll then be donating it to Operation Hometown Gratitude to be shipped in care packages to deployed soldiers! What a great way for your kids to earn some extra cash while helping out those overseas!
The Most Important Part Of Cavity Prevention
It’s essential that your children are brushing their teeth twice a day and flossing in the evening, especially with all that candy around! Make sure they know the importance of keeping their teeth clean when eating sugar!
While that’s an essential part of tooth care there is still one more thing that you need to do for your children: bring them to see us at one of our Rochester dentist office for regular checkups! By seeing your kids every six months we can keep their mouths healthy for years to come! A healthy mouth is an important part of quality of life, health, and happiness so give them a great start with great dental care!