Trick-or-treating can be fun for the whole family, but it can become a lot less enjoyable if it leads to cavities. Extra treats means more candy consumption, which in turns means more exposure to sugar and an increased risk of tooth decay. If you want to keep your family smiling bright after October, try following these 5 Halloween Candy tips.
1. Limit Your Candy Stash
It’ll be much easier to protect your children from extra sugar if you just remove the temptation altogether. Have your family pick their favorite candies and set the rest aside. You can give whatever you don’t eat to charities like Operation Gratitude (which will deliver the candy to overseas troops). You might also check to see if there are any candy buyback programs in your area that you can take advantage of.
2. Think Carefully About Which Candy to Keep
When choosing candy to give away, remember that some treats are potentially more harmful than others. For example, peppermints that stay in your mouth a long time or taffy that sticks to your teeth will put you at a higher risk for cavities because they prolong sugar exposure. Also, you should be careful around sour candies; since they’re usually acidic, they can do additional damage to your teeth.
3. Limit Snacking
Eating a lot of candy throughout the day is worse for your teeth (and the rest of your body) than eating the same amount over a longer period. Put a limit on the number of sugary snacks your family can indulge in during the day. In general, it’s better to limit candy consumption to after meals; that’s when saliva production is naturally increased. (Saliva will somewhat cancel out the cavity-causing acids produced by oral bacteria when they feed on sugar.)
4. Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking water after enjoying some candy can provide extra cavity protection by rinsing away sugar and food particles left in the mouth. In addition, the fluoride that’s found in most tap water and some bottled water help strengthen the teeth to keep them healthy.
5. Make Sure Everyone’s Practicing Good Oral Hygiene
Your family will need to maintain excellent oral hygiene in the days after Halloween in order to avoid potentially severe oral health problems. Make sure that everyone is brushing at least twice a day for two minutes at a time. Daily flossing to remove bacteria and food particles between the teeth is also important.
It might also be a good idea to call your dentist. Not only can they give you more tips for keeping your family’s smiles safe after Halloween, but they can also perform a preventive checkup and cleaning to make sure there aren’t any already existing issues. The best way to have a healthy Halloween is to be proactive!
About the Author
Dr. Cale Beasley worked as a dental assistant at his father’s practice for three years before entering dental school. He enjoys how his chosen profession lets him work with his hands while providing a wide range of preventive, restorative and cosmetic dental services. To schedule an appointment at his practice in Littleton before Halloween, visit the Littleton Dental Studio website or call (303) 794-1707.