What Every Pediatric Dentist in Antioch Wants You To Know This Halloween
As a parent, you want the very best for your kids. And as every Antioch pediatric dentist will tell you, that should also include the very best oral health care routine.
Around Halloween, however, your kids’ teeth take a backseat to all the sugary sweets they consume after trick-or-treating. At our family dentistry practice, we see kids with cracked teeth, cavities, and tooth decay around this time of year due to all of these candies and chocolate treats.
Want to keep your kids teeth healthy and white during Halloween? Keep reading to learn what every family and pediatric dentist in Antioch wants you know about the candies to avoid, fun treats to substitute Halloween candy, and best oral health practices for a boo-tiful smile.
How Sugar and Sweets Affect Teeth
You probably already know that sugary foods, like cookies and candy, are bad for your family’s teeth. But do you know why and how cavities and tooth decay actually form?
Sugar attracts bad bacteria in the mouth. And this bad bacteria feeds on the sugar to form dental plaque, or a sticky film, on the teeth. If the film isn’t removed, either by brushing your teeth or with saliva, then cavities can begin to grow.
Once the pH in your mouth is below neutral (below 7), the acid in your mouth starts to dissolve the minerals in your tooth and destroy the tooth enamel. This destruction of tooth enamel is what causes tooth decay. Over time, this will erode your tooth and end up creating a small hole, also known as a cavity.
Following Halloween, it’s very common for kids to come to the dentist with the beginning stages of tooth decay and cavities. This is because the never-ending consumption of candy and lack of healthy brushing and flossing wreaks havoc on the mouth and teeth.
To help your kids fight cavities and tooth decay after Halloween, it’s best to visit your family dentist to ensure your kids’ teeth are healthy and cavity-free. Even if it’s not quite time for their six-month cleaning, a checkup or even an early cleaning can prevent long-term damage from their Halloween candy collection.
7 Halloween Candies to Avoid
Want to protect your children’s teeth from cavities this Halloween? Here are 7 of the worst candies your kids can eat:
1.Sour Patch Kids
While these little candies may seem cute, they’re all sugar! And not only are they made out of sugar, they’re covered in sugary dust. Sour Patch Kids are also chewy, making it easy for candy particules to get stuck between your kids’ teeth and difficult to get out when brushing.
2. Milky Way
Milky Way’s, even the fun-size, are full of sugar. Their chocolate-y goodness might full you into thinking they’re okay to eat, but the truth is their caramel and nougat center is actually bad for the teeth.
These fruit chews may appear harmless, but their sugary insides will definitely harm your teeth. Plus, their hard-to-chewiness can do substantial damage, like cracking a tooth.
4. Fun Dip
It can be fun to eat a Fun DIp, but that’s where the fun ends. Fun Dips are entirely made out of sugar, from the wand to the sugary particles you dip into. While low calorie, this high sugar candy is not worth the inevitable cavities.
Another pure sugar candy, Nerds are also full of artificial dyes. These little nuggets of sugar are easy to choke on, easy to crunch deep into your teeth and gums, and quick to give your kids cavities.
6. Candy Corn
Candy Corn is an all-time Halloween favorite candy. But their sugary content and ability to stick between your teeth make them an all-time candy to avoid.
Dots can be hard to chew, which makes them a danger to your teeth. Biting down too hard when eating Dots can easily crack a tooth or pull a tooth out. They’re also loaded with sugar, so if they get stuck between your teeth, your risk tooth decay and cavities.
3 Fun Halloween Candy Replacements
Instead of giving out candy this year, how about giving out candy replacements? Candy replacements are usually healthier items that are good for both the body and teeth. Popular candy replacements include:
Even if you don’t hand out the candy replacements, you could ask your kids to trade in some of their unhealthy candy for the replacements. This lets them own more of their own health and be responsible for the foods they put into their own body.
Best Oral Health Practices for a Boo-tiful Smile
During and after Halloween, it’s important that your kids practice healthy oral hygiene habits. This will help keep tooth decay and cavities at bay while brightening the pearly whites. Here are some best practices for boo-tiful, healthy smiles this Halloween:
Brush Teeth Twice a Day
The best way to care for your kids’ teeth is to brush them at least twice a day. Make it a habit to brush teeth before school in the morning and right before bed at night. If they can, brushing after lunch is also a good idea, however it can be harder to do when kids are younger.
Flossing is one of the best ways to clean the hard-to-reach spaces between your teeth. After your kids brush at night, have them floss to remove any particles they may have missed with just their toothbrush. Flossing is especially important if they had any candy before bed.
Don’t Put Off Tooth Aches and Pain
If your child experiences any tooth aches or pains after eating Halloween candy, we recommend making an appointment with your kids dentist to find out the source of the pain. Small candies can get stuck between the gums or cut the gums causing a great deal of pain. Teeth can also crack from hard chewy candies, like Starbursts and Dots, breaking off a piece and exposing a sensitive portion of the tooth.
Visiting your kids’ dentist is important right after Halloween. If you want to get your children’s teeth checked out for cavities or tooth decay, make an appointment with our family dentist in Antioch.