Updated: Dec 3, 2021
The weather is cooling and the leaves are changing colors…which means Halloween is right around the corner! While you’re busy planning treats and picking out costumes for your kiddos this October, we’ve gathered a few Halloween tricks that you may know – and a few you didn’t – to help keep those smiles happy, healthy, and ready for a hauntingly fun holiday!
Time Your Spells Right
Did you know that saliva production increases during meals? Eating Halloween candy (and other sugary foods) with meals or shortly after mealtime helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and rinses away food particles.
Choose Monstrous Candy Carefully
Did you know that dentists prefer to hand out chocolate over sticky or chewy candy during Halloween? That’s because chewy treats and hard candy stick to your teeth and stay in your mouth longer, which means they subject your teeth to an increased risk for tooth decay. Sour candies that may contain acids (such as citric acid) to intensify the sour flavor increase chances of dental erosion and cavities.
Chocolate is in your mouth for a shorter period of time, which means less time for sugar to hang out and do damage. Or consider sugarless gum as a treat. Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals helps reduce tooth decay because increased saliva flow helps wash out food and neutralize the acid produced by bacteria.
Have a Howling Plan
Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as spider rings, bouncy balls or pens and pencils. If you get candy from trick or treating, limit your stash. Have each member of your family pick out their favorites and donate the rest. You can even donate the candy to organizations who send it to troops overseas, like Operation Gratitude, or other local candy take-back programs.
Drink More Werewolf Water
Drinking water can help prevent tooth decay. If you choose bottled water, look for kinds that are fluoridated. On Halloween, encourage your children to eat a small amount of candy in one sitting followed by a glass of water or a thorough tooth brushing.
Stay Away from Scary Sugary Beverages
This includes soda, sports drinks, and flavored waters. When teeth come in frequent contact with beverages that contain sugar, the risk of tooth decay is increased.
Maintain a Hauntingly Healthy Diet
Your body is like a complex machine. The foods you choose as fuel and how often you “fill up” affect your general health and that of your teeth and gums. On Halloween, try and have your kids eat a good meal prior to trick-or-treating so there will be less temptation to fill up on candy.
Brush and Floss those Fangs
Make sure your kids brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes and remember to replace their toothbrush every three or four months (sooner if the bristles are frayed). A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning their teeth.
Flossing teeth at least once a day removes plaque and debris that stick to teeth and gums and in between teeth that brushing can’t reach. It also polishes tooth surfaces and controls bad breath (especially important for werewolves).
And remember, regular visits to our office can help prevent problems from occurring and catch those that do appear early, when they are easy to “treat.” Happy Halloween!
Resources: Mouth Healthy, Delta Dental