How to have a tooth-friendly Halloween

It's that time of year where ghouls, witches and superheroes prowl the streets with one simple goal in mind....candy! However, all that candy can be harmful to your child's teeth.

RAPID CITY, S.D. – When it comes to that alluring basket of hard-earned candy, parents should be patrolling how much their child is consuming – not just for nutritional reasons, but for oral health reasons.

Foods that contain sugars of any kind can contribute to tooth decay, when the production of plaque acids attack the enamel. Eventually, these acids can cause tooth enamel to break down, forming cavities.

Dr. Karl Anderson of Anderson Dental, says, “decay is caused from acidity. It’s not caused from sugar per say; it’s the sugar that turns your mouth into an acidic environment.”

And while candy consumption is almost unavoidable this time of year, there are ways to manage the candy loot. One approach would be to allow your ghosts and goblins to indulge in Halloween candy at mealtime instead of as a snack. Munching on treats and soda all day is worse for your teeth than all at one setting. Sour candies are highly acidic and can break down tooth enamel quickly.

Anderson says, “how much candy you eat doesn’t really make that big of a difference – it’s how often and what kind you are eating. So the sour, sticky things are probably are going to be the worst things to be putting in your mouth. And the worst thing you could be doing would be to be giving them one little piece, consistently, all day long. What is bad for your teeth is to be constantly introduced to sugars over and over again.”

And the candy that’s difficult to resist, like the chewy, sticky stuff, is also difficult to get out of teeth. These candies can be a serious source of tooth decay. When they get stuck in the crevices between teeth, it makes it nearly impossible for saliva to wash it away.

“After you’re done brushing, just simply look in [your kids’] mouth. I don’t know how many times I’ve got done brushing my girls’ teeth … and I miss spots, and there is just sugar stuck to their teeth still … you got to get it out of there.”

Most importantly, practice good oral hygiene with children to create long-lasting habits, as children’s primary teeth health will translate into the health of their adult teeth. Make sure your child brushes twice a day for at least two minutes and flosses every day. Dental floss picks may be easier for children to use.

Anderson also recommends using a fluoride toothpaste and visiting the dentist regularly.

For other tips on keeping your mouth healthy, click here.

For more Wellness stories like this one, click here. 

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