It’s October, and many people love to get into the spooky spirit with Halloween just around the corner. There are some scares that aren’t so exciting, though, and dental emergencies are among them! Harmful bacteria are attracted to the sugar in all the goodies available this time of year, which can lead to tooth decay. If left unaddressed, it can progress to the point that it needs a root canal, which would ruin anyone’s festive fun.
As a result, a lot of parents worry that their child will overeat candy and end up with a cavity- or worse. Fortunately, you can help prevent that by following these 4 helpful tips.
Tip #1: Eat Candy with Meals
When we eat, our mouths produce saliva to help break down food particles to be digested. This helps keep your child’s mouth clean if they indulge in some of their Halloween goodies directly after meals. Their mouths are already primed to rinse away any leftover bits of sugar.
Tip #2: Choose Treats Wisely
There are some foods that are more damaging to teeth than others. Hard or chewy candies, for example, are known to damage fillings or even chips and cracks. They also take longer to dissolve away fully, which means your kid’s teeth are exposed to the sweet ingredients for a longer period of time. Instead, pick something tasty that can melt away quickly, like chocolate. Dark chocolate even offers health benefits because it’s rich in antioxidants.
Sour candies are known to have high levels of acids that attack the protective enamel shielding your little one’s teeth. While everyone enjoys a good sour face, it’s not worth it if they develop a cavity.
Tip #3: Don’t Keep a Candy Stash
After a busy night of trick-or-treating, your little one probably has a big bag or pillowcase full of their spoils. It can end up sitting around for a long time if your family enjoys it in moderation. Instead of keeping it, have everyone pick their favorites and donate the rest to charity. You can simultaneously teach your child about generosity while limiting their sugar intake. It’s a win-win!
Tip #4: Follow A Dental Routine
If you don’t already have a consistent dental hygiene regimen at home, now’s the perfect time to start one. Your child should brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes each session, just like you. Have them use a fluoride toothpaste that prevents decay and strengthens enamel. Be sure to follow it up with floss to make sure no microbes are hidden between their precious pearly whites.
Now you can have some peace of mind knowing you’re helping your loved one keep their smile happy and healthy this Halloween!
About the Author
Dr. Deborah Bishop graduated from Birmingham Southern College with a BS in biology, then earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine at the University of Alabama School of Dentistry. She is an endodontic specialist so she’s an expert at mending the insides of teeth. If your child develops a toothache from too much candy, feel free to contact her practice on the website or by calling (256) 882-5161.