Happy Halloween! Since your kiddos will likely be chomping on candy left and right tonight, Dr. Whitney Wright of Risas Dental and Braces has shared some oral health care tips to keep their teeth in tact after a long night of sweets.
Eat Before Your Treats: Before your kids go trick-or-treating, serve a healthy meal so they’re not hungry when the candy starts coming in.
Portion Control: Know how much candy your child has collected and don’t store it in his or her bedroom. Having it so handy can be an irresistible temptation for many kids. Help them manage their intake–no more than one to two per day. Also, donate or throw it away by the end of November.
Celebrate on Halloween: Consider being somewhat lenient about candy eating on Halloween, within reason, and talk about how the rest of the candy will be handled. Candy and snacks shouldn’t get in the way of kids eating healthy meals
Set a Good Example: Your kids see what you eat and learn your habits. If mom or dad eat candy, ice cream, etc. regularly, why can’t I?
Proper Oral Care After a Night of Eating Candy: As usual, brush and floss before bed. I like to recommend a power tooth brush with timer to make sure your brushing well and for the right amount of time (two minutes).
The Candy Difference: No candy is good for you but chocolate will more easily be rinsed off of teeth vs. more sugary candy.
Chocolate – Although chocolate does have a lot of sugar, saliva dissolves it quickly so it doesn’t linger in your mouth and on your teeth. In fact, dark chocolate is perhaps the “best” candy for your teeth. Not only is it a boost in antioxidants, but a compound in cocoa beans is known to have an antibacterial effect that helps fight plaque.
Sticky or Chewy Candy – Watch out for caramel or gummy-based candy like gummy bears, taffy and Tootsie Rolls. These are harder to dissolve and get stuck between teeth making them prime targets for cavity causing bacteria.
Sour Candy – Sour candy covered in citric acid, like Sour Patch Kids or Warheads, will eat away at enamel, which is the protective covering of your teeth.
Hard Candy – If a child has braces, be careful with hard candy or stay away from them all together. Candy such as jawbreakers or lollipops have the tendency to break braces and can make for an expensive trip to the dentist. During the Halloween season, dentists will see kids with more broken braces than normal.