Halloween is around the corner, which for most children means bags of free candy and a chance to build a stockpile of sweets for the winter. No surprise, Halloween can also present parents with a variety of health and safety challenges. It’s OK to eat that candy on Halloween but it’s important to have a plan.
Here’s how you can help your family stay Mouth Healthy on Halloween and year-round.
Time It Right
Eat Halloween candy (and other sugary foods) with meals or shortly after mealtime. Saliva production increases during meals. This helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and rinse away food particles.
Stay Away from Sweet Snacks
Snacking can increase your risk of cavities, and it’s double the trouble if you keep grabbing sugary treats from the candy bowl. Snacking on candy throughout the day is not ideal for your dental health or diet.
Choose Candy Carefully
Avoid hard candy and other sweets that stay in your mouth for a long time. Aside from how often you snack, the length of time sugary food is in your mouth plays a role in tooth decay. Candies that stay in the mouth for a long period of time subject teeth to an increased risk for tooth decay.
Avoid Sticky Situations
Sticky candies cling to your teeth. The stickier candies, like taffy and gummy bears, take longer to get washed away by saliva, increasing the risk for tooth decay.
Drink More Water
Drinking fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay. If you choose bottled water, look for kinds that are fluoridated.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Your body is like a complex machine. The foods you choose as fuel and how often you “fill up” affect your general health and that of your teeth and gums.
Stay Away from Sugary Beverages
This includes soda, sports drinks and flavored waters. When teeth come in frequent contact with beverages that contain sugar, the risk of tooth decay is increased.
Brush Twice a Day
Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes. Remember, replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth.
Clean Between Your Teeth
Floss your teeth at least once a day. Decay-causing bacteria get between teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Regular visits to your dentist can help prevent problems from occurring and catch those that do occur early when they are easy to “treat.”