The costume-clad, candy-hunting holiday we celebrate now as Halloween was derived from an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain during which people would light bonfires, dress in costumes to ward off ghosts when the veil between the living and the dead was thought to be thinnest.
Over time, the name and customs associated with the holiday have evolved to include jack-o-lantern carving, scary movie viewing, and trick or treating around neighborhoods. But even though Halloween might be a dream for your children (who doesn’t love dressing up and eating tons of candy?), it has the potential to become your Chattanooga pediatric dentist’s nightmare. So our team at Tedford Family Dentistry has compiled a list of tips to help you keep your child’s dental health in check through the sugariest holiday on the calendar.
Know which candies are least harmful to your teeth. Dark chocolate for example is one of the better options, as it tends to have less added sugar. Furthermore, the antioxidants found in dark chocolate have been shown to fight periodontal disease. Who knew? (Well, we did, and now you do.)
Take it easy on the taffies and ultra sticky candies like Milk Duds. Sticky caramels and taffy tend to stick to the teeth, allowing the sugar therein to eat away at tooth enamel. These treats are also potentially dangerous for children with caps on their teeth, as the sticky candies can even pull off caps or crowns.
Enjoy candy at mealtimes. It’s a good idea to let your kids eat their candy and treats at mealtimes, because the saliva produced in the mouth while eating actually helps to wash away otherwise lingering sugars and bacteria.
Eat dinner before trick or treating! Trick or treat with full bellies so your kids won’t be tempted to candy binge. This will also give you time to get home and check over their stashes to ensure safety of the treats. Plus, counting and sorting the goods is half the fun!
Instate a candy budget. Don’t let your kids go crazy on the candy, but teach them moderation. Not only will the trick or treating loot last longer than a night or two, but also limiting your kids’ intake of sugar will be best for them all around. Their teeth (and tummies) will definitely thank you.
Drink lots of water. Not only does drinking water have fluoride in it, which helps preserve tooth enamel, but also the swishing water inside the mouth helps wash away bits of food and treats, as well as sugar and bacteria that can cause cavities.
Don’t forget to brush and floss. Good oral hygiene is imperative always, but especially when your child has consumed sugary treats. Leaving candy residue on teeth and gums is an invitation to decay. Brush, brush, and brush again.
Consider non-candy treats. Broaden your Halloween horizons by giving your kids something other than candy on this holiday. We’re talking glow sticks, coloring books, temporary tattoos, and maybe even a new toothbrush!
Don’t skip your cleanings! It’s really important to maintain your child’s dental cleaning and exam schedule to ensure issues are caught early– plus preventative care is always less painful and less expensive than fillings, root canals, and crowns.
Regardless of how you and yours choose to celebrate Halloween this year, we hope you have a safe and fun time. Our team at Tedford Family Dentistry wishes you the spookiest Halloween ever, and we hope you’ll take our dental tips to heart. Can’t wait to see your boo-tiful smiles soon!