Extra Halloween Candy Means Extra Teeth-Brushing!
Wednesday October 28, 2020
The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency wants to remind parents and kids that all the extra sugar during Halloween needs to be brushed and flossed away!
According to the CDC, cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the United States, and about 1 of 5 children age 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth. “Untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning,” says Kali Nichols, Director of Personal Health and Disease Prevention. We’ve provided some tips that will help with protecting your child’s teeth from Halloween candy.
Gummy and sticky candies are the most dangerous. Candies like Tootsie Rolls, Starbursts, Skittles, Milk Duds and others are the worst for your teeth. These chewy candies will get stuck in the crevices of your teeth and your saliva can’t wash it away. The sugar will eat away at your enamel and cause cavities. If you do indulge in these candies, make sure you are flossing every night before bed!
Brush your teeth with your children. During Halloween season (and after), make sure to brush your teeth with your children. This way you can monitor their brushing technique and time. Try to get your child to brush their teeth for at least 2 minutes and to make sure they’re getting all the way in the back to reach their molars. Make brushing teeth a fun thing rather than a chore, this way your child won’t try to rush and will do a good job.
Buy sugar-free lollipops and hard candies. While still not the best thing for your child’s teeth, hard candies and sugar-free lollipops are a better choice. They provide less sugar and less acid than other types of candy and actually can promote saliva production. Saliva helps to neutralize the acid, dissolve food particles, and lower the pH balance of the mouth.
Only chew sugar-free gum. For children who are old enough for gum, sugar-free gum can help keep your child’s mouth healthy and free from decay. There’s no sugar to promote acid production, the chewing motion helps dislodge food particles that could be stuck between teeth, and it promotes saliva production.
Get snack-sized pretzels, crackers, or trail mix. It’s important to remember that snacking shouldn’t go overboard just because it’s Halloween, but snack-sized bags of pretzels, crackers, and trail mix can make an excellent compromise between vegetables and candy. This is especially so if you get the Halloween-themed packages! These kinds of snacks are not sticky, aren’t high in citric acid, and aren’t high in sugar either, making them much easier on little teeth.
Teaching our little ones how important oral care is can be a tough job, but it is a vital one! It will set their mouths up for success for the rest of their lives.