When it comes to candy, moderation is key to maintaining optimal oral health in children. As Halloween rapidly approaches, many young people anticipate dressing up in their favorite disguises and traveling from house to house in their respective neighborhoods completing the annual rite of passage known as trick or treating.
Excessive candy consumption can lead to dental problems like cavities. That said, no parent wants to deprive their child the right to partake in the Halloween experience. Restricting a youth’s candy intake entirely could backfire and only pique their desire to eat such products. Moreover, restrictive actions could ultimately precipitate unhealthy eating habits like overindulging on candy while away from home.
Allowing children to enjoy Halloween while still preserving some semblance of solid oral health can be a tight balancing act. However, the following suggestions might make this process more manageable:
Limit Or Avoid Sticky Or Chewy Products
Chewy or sticky goodies should be significantly limited or avoided. Items such as dried fruit, taffy and gummy products often stick to teeth and can be quite challenging to remove. Furthermore, said materials do not affix to a tooth’s front. In most instances, these products become caught inside oral crevices that cannot be rinsed out by saliva.
Consume Sour Candies Sparingly
Sour candies should also be consumed sparingly. These products contain elevated concentrations of acid. Acid is a corrosive substance possessing the ability to wear down a tooth’s enamel, which is the hard outer covering shielding the oral component’s internal structures.
Fortunately, saliva reduces acid’s potency. That said, when youngsters do consume sour treats, they are advised to wait at least 30 minutes before brushing their teeth. Engaging in said action sooner will spread the acidic content throughout their mouth and could potentially damage greater amounts of enamel.
Steer Clear Of Excessively Sugary Items
Practically every Halloween goody will contain a discernible quantity of sugar. However, certain products like cake, cookies, and candy corn are rife with the chemical. Excessive sugar intake can heighten the mouth’s acid content.
Luckily, not every item placed into a child’s Halloween bag is completely detrimental to good dental health. Specific products include:
Sugar Free Candies
Hard sugar free candies like lollipops actually foster saliva production. Such an occurrence curtails incidents of dry mouth. Dry mouth is often a precursor to bacterial development, which might increase one’s risk of tooth decay.
Sugar Free Gum
Oral care providers maintain that sugar free gum often proves valuable on multiple counts. First, the product stimulates saliva production. Additionally, said item can loosen food stuck in between teeth. Both actions lessen the mouth’s acid content.
Consume Goodies Over Shorter Durations
Dental professionals urge parents to encourage their offspring to consume Halloween goodies over shorter periods. Eating candy or sugar-laden products over extended durations allows acid concentrations to accumulate and linger.
Focus On Dental Hygiene
Halloween is a time where greater emphasis is placed on the importance of maintaining proper dental hygiene. Therefore, parents are urged to stress important maintenance tips such as replacing old toothbrushes, using toothpastes containing fluoride, brushing at least twice per day, and flossing after meals.
Adults are encouraged to help kids eight and under brush and floss. That said, a youth’s dental care practices should then still be closely monitored until they start developing good habits on their own!
Happy Halloween from all of us at Houston Pediatric Dental Specialists!