Spooky decorations and creative costumes aren’t the only reason children get excited about Halloween. No night of trick-or-treating would be complete without indulging in their favorite candy and treats. However, you don’t want Halloween to come back to haunt your little one’s smile. You don’t have to say “no” to candy by following a few tips from your pediatric dentist for a cavity-free smile.
1. Skip Sticky, Chewy, or Hard Candy
Not all candy is equal in the eyes of your child’s dentist. Sticky and chewy candy cling to enamel and can be difficult to remove. As a result, cavity-causing bacteria will sit on your child’s teeth, slowly eroding their enamel. Hard candy isn’t any better because it must be held in the mouth for a long time to dissolve, bathing their teeth in sugar. Instead, it’s better for your child to eat chocolate because it rinses off the teeth easier.
2. Timing is Everything
Believe it or not, the time of day your child eats candy matters when practicing cavity prevention during Halloween. It’s best they eat their candy with a meal instead of having a piece here and there throughout the day. Chewing encourages saliva production to cleanse their teeth in between brushing and flossing.
3. Reduce Sugary Drinks
If your child will have more sugar throughout the day, encourage them to drink more water. Juices, sports drinks, and soda contain sugar on top of what their teeth will be exposed to from candy. Water will cut back their risk of decay and keep them hydrated. Each sip they take will keep their mouth moist and rinse their teeth. Choose tap water when possible because many public water systems contain added fluoride, which strengthens enamel.
4. Chew Sugarless Gum
Gum is a great way to support a healthy smile, as long as it’s sugarless. Chewing will encourage saliva production to combat cavity-causing bacteria. It will neutralize acids that can cause tooth decay.
5. Schedule a Cleaning and Checkup
Although life gets busier during the holidays, don’t forget to schedule your child’s cleaning and checkup. Their dentist will remove any buildup and examine their mouth to look for any abnormalities. Quick detection and treatment can prevent a complex dental procedure later. They can also provide additional services to make your child’s smile more resistant to decay, like fluoride varnish or dental sealants.
Your little one doesn’t have to skip Halloween to protect their teeth from cavities. With regular dental care and the right oral hygiene habits at home, your child will maintain a healthy, beautiful smile long after your Halloween decorations have been packed away.
About Dr. Marie Tremblay
Dr. Tremblay achieved her dental degree from the University of Montreal and continued her education in pediatric dentistry at Tufts University. She provides the compassionate care young smiles need to thrive. If it’s time for your child’s semi-annual cleaning and checkup, contact our office today to request an appointment.