Halloween is a fun time for kids and adults alike! With Halloween comes a lot of parties and trick or treating, which in turn means a lot of candy consumption.
We are not saying you or your family should not have fun, but it’s important to take care of your teeth after the festivities are over.
At Crescents Heights Dental Clinic we want your children to develop good dental hygiene habits that will last long after Halloween, and carry over into a lifetime. From our staff, here are a few things you and your family can do to help keep good dental hygiene during this time.
Although this doesn’t just apply to Halloween, it is very important to maintain brushing 2 times a day, especially when the candy intake is high. Although it may seem like a good idea, you shouldn’t do it straight after eating some candy. The reason is that some acidic foods can soften your enamel, so brushing right after can damage your teeth.
Wait at least 30 minutes before you send your kids off to brush. Getting a new toothbrush around every 3 months is recommended. A worn out toothbrush will not clean teeth after Halloween.
Getting your kids into the habit of flossing at a young age is crucial as they get older. Flossing after every time they brush will help get rid of bacteria that the brush may have missed.
Drinking plenty of water is all round good for you, but when it comes to dental hygiene it’s be very important. Drinking water after eating candy will help wash away the sugar and dilute the acid produced by the bacteria leftover in your mouth. Encourage your kids to drink water with their candy and throughout the day. With the extra water comes extra glucose, which draws the water out of your body and can actually leave you dehydrated.
Drinks that are filled with sugar like soda or juice might taste nice with your snacks, but avoid these beverages. The sugar contained in these drinks breaks down into acid, which in effect causes decay in the enamel of teeth.
Don’t be too fooled by drinks that advertise themselves as ‘diet’ or ‘sugar free’ as they still contain their own harmful acids.
Some candies are actually less damaging than others. Try and see what candy your children have brought back from trick or treating and if possible steer them away the ‘sticky’ candy.
Examples of ‘sticky’ candy are:
- Gummy Bears
- Sour Patch Kids
- Swedish Fish
- Tootsie rolls
This type of candy stays in the mouth for longer, and increases the risk of tooth decay. It’s worth knowing that a large amount of non-sticky candy can be less harmful than a small amount of sticky candy, as the teeth are exposed more to the candy.
As well as trying to avoid sticky candy, also try and avoid hard candies such as lollipops. These can take a long time to finish, and they can also crack and stress teeth when chewing.
If you are providing the candy for your kids, or contributing to a halloween party, then purchasing sugar free candy is helpful. Although it can still cause tooth decay, it is less damaging than normal candy. Or if you want to be that family in the neighbourhood that gives out healthy options to any trick or treaters, you might set the trend for the entire street.
When you or your kids decide to eat the candy play a role too.
Straight after a meal is normally the best time to consume. Why?
During a meal your mouth produces extra saliva to help swallow the food. This saliva will help rinse away sugar leftover form the candy in your mouth. This can also provide extra incentive for your children to finish their meal, knowing they’re getting a treat after. Using sugar free gum as a treat for your kids can also produce more saliva in the mouth.
Like a lot of things we consume in our lives, it is important to do so in moderation. Yes, eating candy after a meal is the best time, but this doesn’t mean your kids should eat candy until they throw up.
Allow your kids to choose a few of their favourite treats and set this as the limit for the night. Some nights you could try and incorporate a healthy snack with the candy, so then at least your children are consuming some healthy food along side the candy. Open up their candy collection after trick or treating, and divide up the lot into smaller portions to be consumed over the following week.
Buy Back Programmes
Some communities now have programmes usually setup at dental offices that allow children to donate some of their leftover candy in return for rewards. The candy is donated to troops in care packages and are sent all over the world.
Kids can earn 1$ for around 5lb worth of candy they donate with some places giving out healthy snacks or dental products too! It’s a great way to get rid of any excess candy you have left lying around just waiting to be eaten, and it encourages your children to donate to a worthwhile cause.
Visit the Dentist
You and your family should be getting check ups at the dentist regularly, but if you haven’t been in by the time Halloween comes around then it would be a good idea to take the whole family to your local dentistry. If you don’t have a dentist, then you can contact Crescent Heights Dental for post-Halloween help. We can examine your children for any warning signs after any heavy sugasr intake, and give them personal suggestions for taking care of their teeth.
For any questions about taking care of your family’s oral health after halloween, contact us today.