The silly season of Halloween festivities might be over, but the lingering affects off all that sugary candy certainly isn’t. For young kids, Halloween is a lot of fun dressing up in costumes and receiving a whole range of sweets and candies from across the neighborhood. However, this form of fun certainly has long term consequences for young and growing teeth if they aren’t cared for properly after the post-Halloween sugar binge. While the Trick or Treating might only last a night, the stash that your kids collect will last a lot longer than that, meaning you’re going to have an ongoing problem of how to handle all that sugar for the coming days in November. Your children will think it’s a good idea to eat candy just about every day, but their teeth are going to disagree with that.
Here at Morris Park Dental in the Bronx our Board-Certified Pediatric Dentist is concerned about the healthy development of your children’s teeth and understands that after all this candy at Halloween you will have many questions about what exactly you should do to ensure there aren’t long term cavities and other problems caused in those young teeth. This article is here to help you take proper care of your kids’ teeth, and perhaps your own teeth for that matter, to make sure they remain happy and healthy.
One of the best things you can do for your kids’ teeth after Halloween is to take them to a dentist to get a regular check-up. In the meantime while waiting for an appointment, there are some things you can do at home during the post-Halloween season to keep your kids teeth healthy and well. When it comes to teeth care for your children, take these six important tips into consideration.
- Timing is important. Give your kids some of their Halloween stash shorty after meal time, as special dessert treats. This is an ideal time because the saliva production in your mouth increases during meals and helps to cancel out the acids which are produced by bacteria. This helps rinse away food particles, especially sugary substances from candies.
- Avoid sticky stuff. Odds are, your kids don’t really know what it is in their Halloween stash. Take a moment when they aren’t around to remove any extra sticky candies, such as taffy and gummy bears. These stick to your kids teeth and weaken the enamel because they take longer to get washed away by the saliva.
- Brush teeth twice a day. This is something your kids should already be doing on a daily basis, but it is extra important when they are having extra candies and gummies in their diet. For extra caution, it is helpful to get kids to brush their teeth a third time after lunch, just to be sure that sugar isn’t sticking around their teeth and gums.
- Clean between the teeth. Flossing becomes extra important when kids are having more sugar in their diet. By flossing, your kids are removing plaque and food particles between their teeth and preventing a build-up sugar and acidic substances which cause nasty cavities.
- Drink more water. Drinking water is always a good idea after sugar to prevent headaches, but it also prevents tooth decay. Water essentially washes away the sugar from your kids’ teeth. It is also worth keeping in mind that sugar drinks should be avoided during the post-Halloween binge as these will only increase the risk of tooth decay.
- Schedule a Post-Halloween Check-up and Cleaning with Our Office. If it has been more than 6 months since your child’s last cleaning and check-up, they are overdue and should come in as soon as possible. It takes about 6 months for a cavity to develop, which is why it is important to bring your child in regularly to make sure nothing new has come up since their last visit, especially if they have been snacking on a lot of sugary sweets lately, or they are complaining of tooth pain or sensitivity.
Allow some binging to occur, as bizarre as this may sound. When your kids eat sugar, there is sugary acidic damage occurring. Whether the kids eat a handful of candy all at once, or spread it over a few hours, this damage is inevitable. Bunching sugar sessions together in quick succession won’t alter the time it takes for the acid to dissipate. However, when a candy bar is eaten once every hour, it will take an hour each time for the oral pH levels to return to normal. This means that when you give your kids three candy bars and let them gobble them down all once, you’ll be doing their teeth a favor as well as earning points as best parent of the year. After the candy is consumed, make sure your kids brush their teeth almost immediately after to keep extreme acid damage from occurring.
Don’t make candy forbidden otherwise it will become all the more appealing for kids. It is a good idea to take the candy bounty away from your kids and store it somewhere safe so that they don’t have round the clock access to it. But it isn’t a good idea to make this secret location completely off limits. Children work in reverse psychology and as soon as something is untouchable, the more they are going to want it, especially when sugary sweets are involved. Make sure your kids know that the candy is theirs and they will get to eat it, but just not all at once.
Serve the candy in moderation and encourage some sort of healthy eating beside it. When your kids come running and begging for some of their hard-earned Halloween candy, there is only so much denying you can do. Use it your advantage and keep the Halloween stash as a sort of bribery for healthy eating. For example, allow the kids two pieces of candy alongside them eating some carrot sticks or cut up apples. This way, although they are getting sugar in their system, they are also having something healthy to balance it out, as much balance as can occur in the post-Halloween sugar sessions.
Get creative with the candy and encourage your kids to use it in different ways. Now that you have more candy that you ever imagined, try to get your kids thinking in different ways about how to use it. Rather than just shoveling it into their mouths, this is a great way to get kids creative in the kitchen and experiment with some cooking ideas. For example, you can use some of those M&Ms to create colorful cupcakes, or make a three-dimensional house out of Tootsie rolls using Hershey’s kisses as clouds above. This is a great way to get the kids in the kitchen, using their imagination, while having a side treat of candy snacks along the way. You can also encourage your kids to make baked gifts for special people in their life, such as their grandparents, which gives them a chance to learn valuable skills like sharing and concern about other people.
Call (718) DR-SMILE (718-377-6453) or click here to schedule a post-Halloween check-up and cleaning with our Bronx dental office today!