With Halloween having arrived, by the end of the evening your little ghouls and goblins will have collected enough booty to earn the envy of even the most famous of pirates. All of this treasure also means your kids will have a chance to start stockpiling candy for the winter.
Not surprisingly, the treats earned on Halloween can cause a variety of problems for parents who want to help their kids maintain healthy teeth and gums.
To keep your kids smiling their best for the rest of the year, here are a few tips that will help maintain a healthy mouth.
Eat Halloween Candy as Part of Larger Meals
The mouth produces more saliva during larger meals like lunch and dinner, which helps to neutralize harmful acids produced by oral bacteria and to wash away lingering food particles that remain after eating. When eaten separately throughout the day, the sugar from candy tends to remain in the mouth longer where it acts as an ample fuel source for harmful bacteria. So save the candy for desert and avoid using it as a mid-day snack.
Avoid Hard Candies
In addition to how frequently your kids snack on candy, the amount of time sugary snacks stay in the mouth also plays a role in tooth decay. Unless your child is chewing on a stick of sugar-free gum, the longer a piece of candy stays in the mouth, the higher the risk becomes of tooth decay. Candies such as jawbreakers and Jolly Ranchers should be limited to one piece a day, and your kids need to rinse their mouths thoroughly with water once finished.
Avoid Sticky Candies
Sticky candies like gummy bears, taffy, and caramel stay in the mouth longer, especially in the hard to reach places of the mouth like the back molars. Because their sticky nature allows them to cling to teeth, it takes longer for saliva to wash these types of candy from the mouth, which increases your child’s risk of decay.
Have Your Kids Drink More Water
Having your kids drink more water offers two important benefits to the health of their teeth. As we’ve discussed, drinking water will help to flush sugar from the mouth, reducing your child’s risk of suffering from tooth decay. Additionally, the more water your kids drink, the less soda and juice they will consume as well. These types of beverages are loaded with sugar, which makes them a terrible choice to wash down a handful of candy.
Make Sure Your Kids Brush and Floss Daily
While most kids mean well, it’s hard for parents to impart the long-term importance of brushing and flossing when most kids don’t seem think more than a few minutes ahead about anything. If your little ones have a tendency to run their brushes under the faucet to make it seem like they’ve brushed, you’ll need to take a more active role in ensuring they maintain their oral hygiene habits following Halloween.
Don’t Forget to Schedule Regular Appointments with Drs. Mo and G
For your kids to maintain a healthy smile, they need to undergo regular cleanings and checkups with Drs. Mo and G throughout the year. Frequent checkups allow the doctors to spot any signs of decay during early stages before the damage becomes permanent, and to assess how a child’s adult teeth are forming and whether braces may be needed.
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