With Halloween coming up, you might be wondering how to protect your child’s teeth from their annual trick-or-treating haul. We understand that enjoying candy can be half the fun of Halloween, so indulging slightly is to be expected. And while we don’t recommend going overboard on the sugary sweets, there are a few tips and tricks you can try to help your child avoid cavities this Halloween. Here are just a few ways you can protect your child’s teeth from tooth decay:
1. After they eat their candy, be sure they brush immediately!
To explain the importance of this tip, you should know a few things about plaque first. Plaque is the soft, white substance that builds up naturally on our teeth and gums, and it is comprised of millions of bacteria. Unfortunately, these bacteria feed on the sugars in your food and, when they’ve finished metabolizing them, they release harmful acids directly onto your dental enamel. This means, when your child bites down on their first piece of candy, it is only a matter of time before these bacteria go to work on their teeth. Luckily, though, this process takes about twenty minutes from their first bite to complete. Therefore, if they brush their teeth immediately after their snack, they can wash away these harmful bacteria and protect their teeth from decay.
2. Make sure they drink lots of water.
During Halloween, you’ll especially want to avoid sodas, juices, and other drinks that are jam-packed with sugar. Instead, make sure they’re drinking lots of water! Not only does water help your child to wash away the acids produced by harmful bacteria in plaque, but it also strengthens your child’s teeth. The fluoride in water helps to fortify their dental enamel, preventing and even reversing the harmful effects of decay.
3. Avoid the “wrong” kinds of candy.
This may come as a surprise, but not all candy is created equal when it comes to tooth decay. As mentioned above, the bacteria in plaque takes about twenty minutes to metabolize your sugars and release harmful acids onto your teeth. This is not a big problem when eating a piece of chocolate, for example, as this can easily be finished quickly—minimizing your teeth’s exposure to sugars and giving you time to brush your teeth before it causes any damage. However, with candy like lollipops or caramels, your child’s teeth endure prolonged exposure to sugars and your child has less time to brush the plaque away. Therefore, make sure your child sticks to the candies that are quick to eat in order to protect them from tooth decay!
Is your child due for a routine dental check-up? Protect their teeth and help them avoid cavities this Halloween with a thorough, professional teeth cleaning! To schedule their next appointment, contact Downtown Dental in River North today!