Halloween can mean bags of free candy and a stockpile of sweets for the months to come. Sweets can still be part of the Halloween fun as long as parents and caregivers help their children practice moderation and proper oral hygiene to keep their mouths healthy.
Here are a few tips to keep teeth healthy during Halloween and year-round.
**Eat 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.
**Avoid frequent snacking; it can increase your risk of cavities. Avoid hard candy and other sweets that stay in your mouth for a long time. How often you snack and the length of time sugary food is in your mouth play a role in tooth decay.
**Avoid sticky candies. The stickier candies, like Swedish fish and taffy, take longer to get washed away by saliva, which increases the risk for tooth decay.
**Drink fluoridated water. Fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay.
**Best options for a sweet treat include sugar-free gum and dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that can inhibit bacteria from sticking to the teeth. Sugar-free gum made with xylitol promotes the growth of tooth-protective, non-acidic bacteria which can make it nearly impossible for bacteria and plaque to form.
**Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with a fluoridated toothpaste and floss daily.
Enjoy Halloween and all the sweet treats…sensibly. When indulging in any kind of candy, drink plenty of water after eating the treat. Swish the water around in the mouth to help dislodge particles that can get stuck and increase your risk of tooth decay. And of course, regular visits with our staff at Hi-Tech Dentistry can help prevent problems from occurring and catch those that do occur early.