October 26, 2016
Halloween can be a spooky but fun time of year for kids, but a downright scary one for a kids dentist.
We would not want to deny anyone the fun of going trick-or-treating and collecting candy. We remember how much fun that was for us when we were children.
However, Dr. Hanson and our team at Oregon Smile Care Center also want you to avoid the problems like tooth decay and cavities that could make Halloween a lot less fun as you get older.
That’s why we want to take some to remind you to make preventive dental care a priority. Brush your teeth twice a day. Floss daily, and make appointments at our dentist office for professional cleanings if you live in or near Salem, OR.
No Tricks: Tips For Halloween
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry wants every parent and child to be on the lookout for the “Mouth Monsters” this Halloween.
These monsters can hurt your oral health all year, but Halloween is a time when they have an opportunity to cause a lot of problems. The Mouth Monsters like sugar and sweets even more than children do.
Everyone at Oregon Smile Care Center encourages you to keep these tips in mind as you are planning your costumes before you candy collections begins.
✦ Talk about setting limits
This can mean two things. First, talk beforehand about how much candy your kids should keep. Children will probably come home with more candy than they will eat and certainly more candy than they should eat.
Make an agreement before you leave about how much candy your children will keep. Remember to make a plan for what you could do with the extra candy, too. This can make it easier when it’s time to decide what candy your kids will keep.
The second part of setting limits is making sure no one eats too much candy at one time. One big piece of candy or a couple small pieces is plenty to eat at any particular time.
✦ Drink water when you do eat candy
Drinking water will help to remove sugary food particles from your teeth. When these particles get stuck. The Mouth Monsters will use them to get close to your teeth, where they can cause tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.
Try to save a little water until you are finished eating your candy. This way, you can rinse your mouth out to help remove loose particles.
Also, remember to brush your teeth as soon as you can after you have finished your snack.
✦ Eat candy after meals
No only is this a way to enjoy some dessert, but this is the best time to eat candy (if you are going to eat it). After a meal, you have more saliva in your mouth, and that saliva can help remove candy particles while you are eating.
Be Aware Of What Treats You Are Eating
First things first, how much candy you eat is more important than what candy you eat. Eating too much of any candy is going to increase your risk of cavities, which means you may have to come to Oregon Smile Care Center to get a filling.
Now, assuming you have agreed on your limits about how much candy to eat at one time, here is a guide to help you decide what candy to eat. You may even want to use this when you are deciding what treats you will keep.
The AAPD puts treats into three categories:
◼︎ Treats to avoid — Gummy, sticky, and sour candies make this list. This includes gummy bears, gummy worms, caramels, and bubble gum. All of these things are more likely to get stuck in your teeth, and that makes them harder to clean, too.
Sour candies pose a slightly different problem. Sour candies can be acidic, and those acids can eat into the protective enamel on the outside of your teeth.
◼︎ Better treat choices — Milk chocolate, pretzels, and crackers are lower in sugar and are less likely to stick to your teeth. (If you have braces, you may want to avoid hard or crunchy treats for other reasons, however.).
◼︎ Best treat choices — Dark chocolate and sugar-free gum can be better ways to satisfy your sweet tooth. Dark chocolate does have sugar, but it also has ingredients that make it harder for bacteria (which cause tooth decay) to stick to your teeth.
Many sugarless gums contain xylitol, which promotes non-acidic bacteria that can make it harder to tooth decay to develop.
And Don’t Forget The Dentist
We would love to see pictures of you and your family in your Halloween costumes. So, why not make an appointment for a professional cleaning at our dentist office in Salem, OR, after Halloween is over.
That visit will be a great time to fight the Mouth Monsters and tell us what you did Halloween night. Contact Oregon Smile Care Center online or call (503) 837-2718, to schedule your next dental cleaning.