If you are stressing out about your kids' next visit to the dentist because of the Halloween sugar rush, there's no need to be spooked. Follow these tips to mitigate any oral health issues that could come from trick-or-treating.
Take Them In For Dental Sealants
If you haven't taken your kids for dental sealants already, now's the time to do so since they only take one visit to be applied. These sealants are made of a clear plastic composite, and the dentist paints them on the grooves of your children's teeth--especially in the pitted surfaces of molars--where cavities are often found. And the good news is that these sealants can last up to 10 years. Even if your children are pretty good about brushing and flossing, sealants are just another barrier that can help stave off any would-be Halloween cavities.
Don't Stress if the Kids Gorge on the Goods
In the past you may have tried to ration your kids' candy so they don't give themselves stomachaches. While those good intentions are great for your children's appetites, they aren't always great for their teeth. According to livescience.com, extended candy eating is much worse for oral health than a quick binge of sweets. While you may be skeptical, dentists say that eating candy over an extended period of time doesn't give your saliva enough time to neutralize and wash acids away. So this Halloween, you may want to be less strict with your candy-counting rules and just let your kids indulge for one night.
Swap Out Bad Candy with Better Substitutions
It's an oxymoron to say there is "healthy candy," but there are actually "good, better, and best" choices for your teeth when it comes to candy. Parenting.com says that some of the worst choices include:
- caramel candies,
- nut candies,
- sour candies,
- hard candy (like lollipops),
- and sour candies
Instead of taking away your children's candy after trick-or-treating, pick up a bag of candy from the store that is a better choice. Chocolate candies without tons of added nuts or those with softer fillings will be less likely to stick to your children's teeth. Make sure your children brush thoroughly after eating and offer the sugar-free gum to increase their saliva production.
However, if your children do eat lots of sour candy, it's actually best to hold off on brushing for about 30 to 40 minutes since sour candies have higher pH of acid. If your kids brush their teeth, they could actually push those acids deeper into the tooth enamel, thus encouraging decay! Instead, have your kids cleanse their palate with a glass of water.
If you follow these tips and the advice of your dentist, you're sure to have a cavity-free October! Contact a dentist like one from Pike Lake Dental Center for more information.