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Tips on Having a Tooth-Friendly Halloween

halloween candy
Creative Commons image by Ardie (Flickr).

Whether you are the parent or grandparent of children who will be trick-or-treating or you are planning on giving out treats to the neighborhood children this year, you  might be concerned about the effect of Halloween candy on little teeth. You’re right to wonder, since some types of candy and some common habits can encourage bacterial growth, which can lead to tooth decay. Here are some tips on having a more tooth-friendly Halloween.

#1: Give Out the Right Types of Treats

There are certain types of candy that are just not good for teeth. The  main concern is that sticky candy can attach itself to the teeth and be difficult to get off. For younger kids who don’t have excellent tooth-brushing technique or who might not floss daily, this can allow debris to sit on the teeth overnight or even for a few days. Yuck!

Try to choose candy that is less sticky so it gets washed away by saliva and by drinking fluids throughout the day. These can include chocolate (dark chocolate actually contains antioxidants that can boost dental health, so this is a great option), sugar-free chewing gum and sugar-free lollipops. Avoid caramels, gummies and hard candy that contains sugar.

#2: Limit the Times That Your Children Indulge

If your kids are grazing on candy throughout the day, the sugar levels in their mouths tend to stay high. This is particularly true if they’re not brushing after each indulgence. Instead of letting them spread out their consumption throughout the day, consider choosing a time when all of that day’s candy needs to be eaten. Have them brush their teeth afterward, then have no more candy for the rest of that day.

#3: Push Healthy Foods, Too

Sometimes kids want to replace their healthy snacks with Halloween candy at the beginning of November. While this won’t hurt them if it’s just a day or two, neglecting to eat healthy foods can negatively impact the teeth. Foods like fresh fruits and vegetables (especially crunchy ones, like apples, carrots and celery) and hard cheeses can actually reduce the amount of plaque in the mouth, so it’s important to keep these as a part of your child’s diet in addition to the sweet stuff.

If you have questions about your child’s dental health or if you’d like to schedule a cleaning, please give us a call!

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