Dental Hygiene – The practice of keeping the mouth, teeth, and gums clean and healthy to prevent oral disease, by regular brushing and flossing and visits to a dentist.
Halloween time is a fun time for the whole family…the weather begins to turn, leaving cooler weather for lots of quality family time. It also means its time to pick out Halloween costumes for the kids and family as well as looking forward to collecting bags full of candy from the neighbors and at school. In those bags of candy lies an unsuspecting hazard…Sugar! Sugar consumption without proper dental hygiene leads to tooth decay.
But this time does not have to be a time being scared of possible dental issues following Halloween. It can give parents and children alike a chance to learn new dental hygiene tricks to maintain their dental health throughout the year.
Dental Hygiene Tips
1. Be Selective. Not all of the Halloween treats are scary. A good dental hygiene tip is to encourage kids to eat candy that melts fast and can be eaten quickly. Try to avoid gooey, sticky sweets (like caramels) that can linger on in the mouth and on the teeth. This will allow the bacteria in the mouth to produce more acid which will cause tooth decay. Remind kids after eating any sugary candy to brush their teeth or at the very least rinse their mouths out with water. This will lessen the amount of time the sugar stays in contact with the teeth. A really good idea might be to buy a new toothbrush that is Halloween related as a final “treat”.
2. Hide the excess candy. Do not just leave the Halloween candy around the house after the Halloween trick or treating is over. Store it in a secret place out of reach from kids and adults.
3. Avoid grazing. If you maintain dental hygiene tip #2 this should not be an issue. The idea is not to just keep picking at the candy throughout the day. This reduces the time the sugars are in the mouth decreasing chance of tooth decay. A better idea is to hold back candy and use it as an after meal treat. Then have your child immediately brush and rinse to neutralize the sugar and acid production. Another option, if you cannot brush or rinse is to give them a sugar free xylitol gum. The gum will help increase salivary flow which will also help to neutralize the acids in the mouth.
4. Eat a Healthy Meal first. Have children not fill up on snacks and Halloween candy but fill up on a healthy nutritious meal first. This will give them less temptation to overdo their candy consumption. This is a good dental hygiene tip for all year and not just Halloween time.
So there you have it, a few easy dental hygiene tricks to allow you and your family to fully enjoy the Halloween time. Candy is not necessarily the enemy, the enemy is not maintaining a diligent dental hygiene regimen. As always visit your dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings.