Ghosts, ghouls, and goblins, oh my! It’s officially October and Halloween is right around the corner. But even vampires need to take care of their teeth while they’re enjoying the spooky season.
Halloween can present parents with a variety of health challenges, and it’s good to have a plan to help protect your little one’s teeth. To help with the damage control, here are a few tips you can use to protect your child’s teeth while they’re out enjoying the holiday.
It might seem like you’re taking the fun out of Halloween when you cut down on your child’s sugar intake, but family dentists and doctors alike will tell you it’s important to be mindful of what your child is putting into their body. Not all candies have the same amount of sugar. If a piece of candy has over 20 grams of sugar, your child could quickly be eating over 100 grams of sugar in just a few minutes. Not only is sugar bad for your child’s teeth and can increase the risk of cavities, but it can also cause a spike in your child’s blood sugar and triglycerides, which is a major risk factor for heart disease.
Hard candies can be fun to suck on because they last for a long time compared to snacks that you can quickly wolf down. However, hard candies typically contain the highest amount of sugar. And, because they stay in your mouth for a longer time, they also offer the most food to the bad bacteria in your mouth. Additionally, hard candy can be a lot for your child’s tiny teeth. If they crunch down on a piece before it’s soft enough, they could end up cracking or breaking a tooth. That said, be sure to steer clear of the hard candy this Halloween.
You would think indulging in fruit would be a healthier option for a Halloween snack, and you’re right. Fruit is a healthy option, and apples are certainly better for your child’s teeth than a piece of candy. However, as your family dentists will tell you, it’s not a good idea to give your child both candy and fruit throughout the day. This is because fruit has natural sugars, which means when your child eats a clementine and then a piece of candy that’s double the sugar intake. Opt for vegetables throughout the day rather than fruit to ensure your child is still getting the vitamins and nutrients they need.
After candy, sugary drinks are another Halloween favorite to indulge in. Green fruit punch might create a fun, spooky effect for a Halloween party. But it also creates a sugary bath for your teeth to soak in. Sugars typically dissolve in liquids at a higher concentration than they do in a solid form. That means your child will be getting higher amounts of sugar per serving than they would with a piece of candy. If your child has sugary drinks throughout the night, be sure to limit the amount of candy they consume to help protect them from high blood sugar spikes and cavities. It’s also a good idea to replace a sugary drink with water to help rinse the sugars away from the teeth before the cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth has a chance to get to work.
Chewy toffies and sticky candies can be fun to munch on. But these sweets come with their fair share of problems. Like hard candy, toffies typically have a lot of sugar. And, because they take so long to chew, they expose your teeth to those sugars for a longer time than you would eating a piece of chocolate.
Baby teeth may fall out over time to make way for grown-up teeth, but they’re just as important to take care of. Over 40% of children have cavities by the time they reach kindergarten. Make sure your child brushes their teeth twice a day and flosses to get rid of the plaque hiding on the side of their teeth. This is especially important on Halloween when their sugar intake is bound to be higher than usual.
Looking for family dentists to give your child the preventative care they need this fall? The licensed dentists at Smilez Pediatric Dental Group are there for you. To learn more about how you can take care of your child’s teeth this Halloween, or to schedule a routine cleaning with one of our family dentists, contact us today.