Halloween is coming and scary days are ahead! The frightful costumes, eerie voices, spiders and snakes holiday might be a little scary for young trick-or-treaters, but the real fright might be with parents who have to deal with the aftermath of a Halloween weekend of candy in their children’s’ teeth.
At Halloween, children will collect all kinds of treats, from sticky, hard candies to chew, gooey candies, chocolate treats to sugar filled confections. Parents know that all these sweet treats filled with sugar can harm kids’ growing teeth and cause cavities, but at the same time, we don’t want to be the Grinch of Halloween for our kids.
The dental pros at Village Dental understand this. We have been serving patients for over 50 years, so we know a thing or two about how excessive candy eating can affect oral health. We provide quality, gentle dentistry in Salt Lake City for you and your family, and our latest dental techniques can help identify teeth issues quickly. And like you, we care about all the candy that gets consumed for Halloween. Here are Village Dental’s tips and advice to parents on limiting the amount of sugar and sweets. This Halloween, help keep your kids on the right path toward great oral hygiene!
Healthy Teeth Halloween Dental Tip #1 – Dinner Before Candy
Get your kids to eat a healthy meal full of nutrients, protein and carbohydrates before trick or treating. It will assist in limiting the amount of candy they stuff into their mouth. Some studies show that eating a good meal increases saliva glands, and that extra saliva can help to clean teeth. So get the kids to eat before candy.
Healthy Teeth Halloween Dental Tip #2 – Control the Candy
Instead of allowing your kids to eat up all their Halloween treats in 1-2 days, we recommend putting the bucket aside, and to then ration it out in sensible amounts over time. Reducing how much candy your child eats is the important thing; too much candy will lead to tooth decay later on.
Healthy Teeth Halloween Dental Tip #3 – Water During Cand
If you’re out canvassing the neighborhood for Halloween, make sure your kids drink a lot of water. The water will help clear out any candy that gets stuck to their teeth, and it will also hydrate them during the evening’s activities. Too much sugar and not enough water can lead to some wired or cranky kids later in the night.
Avoid Hard & Sticky Candies
Parents – be on the lookout for those small hard and sticky candies. The length of time that a hard candy stays in a child’s mouth helps to increase the chances of more tooth decay. Studies show that the longer a kid has hard candy in his mouth, the longer time the sugar is there too. This greatly increases the growth of the bacteria that causes cavities to take root.
But what’s maybe even worse about hard candies is when kids bite down on these hard candies. That may actually break the fillings or teeth, or damage orthodontic work.
Avoid Gummy Candy
Gummy type bears, fish and other edible treats are nearly as bad as hard candies. Though they are softer, bits of the candy often get stuck in between teeth. Without a good flossing session, these bits of candy can stay inside the teeth, until finally washed away. But they can also impact the risk of tooth decay.
The most acceptable type of candy might be the soft, chewable, non-sticky candies like chocolates, liquid filled candy gels and M&M-type candies. They get absorbed quickly into the body and don’t linger in the teeth, thus helping to avoid cavity-causing bacteria. Lucky for most parents, children enjoy these types of candies, so if you can swap hard candies with these softer one, do it!
Healthy Teeth Halloween Dental Tip #4 – Candy Substitutions
Check your local grocer’s shelf for sugarless candy, sugarless gum and other candy substitutes. Look especially for ADA approved sugarless gum. Did you know that tooth decay can be greatly reduced by chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals? This is due to the gum chewing producing more saliva that helps flush out food particles and neutralize any acids.
Or avoid giving out candy altogether, instead band with local neighbors and decide to give out other Halloween treats instead of sugar-filled candy. Hand out pretend vampire teeth, bloody drinks (red dye), pumpkin stickers, Halloween toys and more. With a bit of effort, you and the other parents in your particular Salt Lake City area can help to cut the amount of candy given out.
Healthy Teeth Halloween Dental Tip #5 – Practice Good Teeth Habits
The kids should know that if they are eating all types of sugary treats early on, they’re going to clean their teeth well before bed. As a routine, your kids should brush their teeth two times a day. Flossing is also very important for all kids to learn to do. The earlier they know this important dental practice, the better their teeth will be as they grow up. Flossing helps get rid of the food parts that stay stuck in between teeth. If you’re not flossing, you’re missing 35 percent of the tooth. Food stuck between the teeth hardens into tartar.
Visit Your Local Dentist in Holladay, Utah
Finding the right dentist is an important task, and we invite you to come in for a visit. Your dentist should be part of the American Dental Association. Village Dental is a proud member and integrated into Salt Lake City community. Regular visits to your dentist can help catch teeth-related issues early on and avoid more serious treatment methods.
We hope these dental tips for Halloween are helpful. If you’re in the market for a new dentist, please come visit us in Holladay, Utah. We’d be happy to show you our treatment facility and talk about your dental needs for you and your family.