Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy (and dentally safe) Halloween!

While dentists and orthodontists have a professional conflict with Halloween, we also know that holiday snacks are a fact of life.  Here are some suggestions to enjoy a fun and dentally safe Halloween:

Before going out trick-or-treating, try to ensure your children eat a good, hearty meal so there will be less temptation to gorge on candy. 

Tooth decay occurs when candy and other sweets mix with bacteria in the sticky plaque that constantly forms on teeth to produce acid, which can wear away enamel.  Chewy, sticky treats are particularly damaging because not only are they high in sugar, but they spend a prolonged amount of time stuck to teeth and are more difficult for saliva to break down.    Hard candies are tough on teeth as well because kids tend to suck on them at a leisurely pace for an extended period of time.

The majority of dentists who hand out candy choose chocolate because when it comes to teeth and sugar, it's really a matter of time. Chocolate dissolves quickly in the mouth and can be eaten easily, which decreases the amount of time sugar stays in contact with teeth.

At the end of the night, it's a good idea to remove the sticky, gummy and chewy choices from your child's candy haul.  And remember: the worst thing a kid can do is go to bed without brushing after gorging on the night's loot.

And last but not least, promote good oral health care habits to your children year-round by encouraging twice daily brushing with fluoridated toothpaste, daily flossing and regular dental checkups.

Happy Halloween!