It is almost October and time for Halloween! It is fun for children, trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, collecting candy, and finally returning home to admire their haul. 2020 has been a strange year, but hopefully we can continue this classic tradition!
Unfortunately, dentists are not nearly as thrilled with Halloween, because they know the possible negative repercussions of eating candy: not only damage to teeth but also possibly to a child’s overall health. Poor oral hygiene can lead to cavities, periodontal disease and infection, which can impact a patient’s heart, lungs, and entire body.
Dr. John Luther, Chief Dental Officer at Western Dental & Orthodontics, has five tips on candy for patients of all ages:
- Select candy carefully – Avoid hard candy, such as lollipops, and other sweets that stay in the mouth for a long period of time. These candies increase the risk for tooth decay.
- Avoid chewy candies – Chewy, sticky treats, such as caramels or gummies, are particularly damaging as they are high in sugar, spend a prolonged amount of time stuck to teeth, and are harder for saliva to break down.
- Chocolate is preferred – Chocolate dissolves quickly in the mouth and can be eaten easily, decreasing the amount of time sugar contacts teeth.
- Eat candy only after mealtime – Parents should avoid letting their kids snack on candy throughout the day. Saliva production increases during meals, helping cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and helps rinse away food particles.
- Take preventive steps – Drinking water intermittently helps to keep sugar from resting in the grooves of their teeth. Brushing and flossing your teeth thoroughly before going to bed is also critical.
By following these basic guidelines, you and your family can maintain a bright smile and healthy gums throughout the holidays and future. Happy Fall!