How To Keep Your Kid's Teeth Healthy After Halloween
Halloween has passed, the trick-or-treaters have gone home for the year, and all of the costumes have been put away.
The only thing left behind, the only reminder that it was just Halloween, are the bags of candy your children (or yourself) have accumulated.
Halloween is loved by children across the country because they know they will get more candy than they know what to do with.
While the candy might make them happy and keep them feeling satisfied, all that sugar can do a number on their teeth if they're not careful.
Since this is a dental blog, you are probably assuming that we are going to tell you to ditch the candy next Halloween and give out packs of floss instead.
But, that's not the case.
Enjoying candy and sugar is okay, every once in awhile, if you prepare yourself for it.
No parent wants to deprive their children of the joy of Halloween, but they also don't want their teeth to rot as a consequence.
In the article below, we will go over several ways you can let your kids enjoy their candy while still protecting their teeth and being mindful of their oral health.
Table of Contents
- It's All About Timing
- Set Limits
- All Candies Are Not Created Equal
- Don't Over-Brush
- Make Sure You Are Brushing and Flossing
- Visit Your Dentist
It's All About Timing
You never want to let your kids grab their bowl of Halloween candy, sit on the couch, and munch away until bedtime.
Keeping your kid's teeth safe after Halloween has a lot to do with the timing of when they eat their candy.
You want to let them eat their candy, or any sugary foods, shortly after mealtime.
Their saliva production will be increased after they eat their meals, helping to cancel out acids that produce bacteria in your mouth and rinse away food particles.
This will help cleanse their mouths of all that sugar instead of sticking to their teeth, where it could cause cavities or even gum disease.
Just because it's better to eat candy after meals, it doesn't mean your children can eat candy until they pass out after dinner.
When it's time to eat some of their Halloween candy, get them to pick out a few of their favorites from their candy bag.
They don't need the entire bag because that will promote overeating.
Also, for the kids who pulled in big hauls of candy, they might still have more than enough after a week or two.
In cases like this, it might be a wise idea to fund something else to do with the leftover candy.
There are many dentists offices around the country who participate in the Halloween Buyback program, which is a program where candy is collected and sent to people serving in our Military.
And, when you take your extra candy to your dentist to donate, they might reward your kids with a few sugar-free snacks as well as a new toothbrush.
All Candies Are Not Created Equal
When it comes to candy, they are definitely not all created equal.
Some candy, like anything sugar-free, will be much better for your children's teeth than other candy.
A huge factor in how much damage candy can do to your mouth is how much time it stays in your mouth.
Sticky candy, hard candy, and gum that are in your mouth for an extended period increase your risk of tooth decay.
The stickier the candy, the harder the candy, the longer they will be in your mouth, and the longer it will take them to get washed away by your saliva.
Try to limit these types of candy and opt for candy that won't spend as much time in their mouths.
Sending your kids to the bathroom to brush their teeth as soon as they're done their candy might seem like a good idea, but that's actually not the case.
You want to let them wait a little bit before sending them off to brush.
Brushing your teeth right after you eat acidic foods can end up damaging your teeth instead of protecting them.
This happens because some foods will soften the enamel of your teeth, so when you brush right after eating them, you can damage your enamel with your toothbrush while your teeth are still sensitive.
Get your kids to drink a glass of water to rinse away the sugar after they eat their candy, but wait at least 30 minutes to brush.
Make Sure You Are Brushing and Flossing
Keeping up with your oral care is essential throughout the year, but it is especially important around Halloween.
Your kids should brush their teeth at least twice a day for two minutes using a dentist-approved fluoride toothpaste.
They should also floss each time they brush because flossing will get out food particles and bacteria that their brush will miss.
Also, you should be replacing their toothbrushes at least every four months, or sooner if you notice the bristles are frayed.
Visit Your Dentist
You should also be sure you are visiting your dentist on a regular basis.
If Halloween rolls around and you and your kids haven't seen a dentist in a while, go ahead and schedule a cleaning so you can get your teeth prepared for the Halloween onslaught.
If you don't have a dentist, reach out to the experts at Hylan Dental Care.
They will make sure your children's teeth are in tip-top shape and ready for all of the extra sugar.