27 Oct Spooky Sweet: How to Avoid Cavities This Halloween
How to Enjoy Halloween While Keeping Your Teeth Healthy
Bring on crisp fallen leaves, creative costumes, horror movies, and of course, Halloween candy. It’s officially spooky season! For parents, however, there’s nothing scarier than a bag full of cavity-causing sweet treats.
Prevent Halloween candy cavities with these smile-saving tips!
How to Avoid Cavities
Does candy cause cavities? Yes, namely when you’re not caring for teeth properly. Cavities develop when dental plaque builds up and eats away at your protective tooth enamel.
Plaque is the sticky substance that can coat your teeth and gums. It forms when saliva mixes with food and bacteria. If you neglect your oral health, plaque can develop and spread.
Over time, it can harden into tartar and release acid before eating away at your teeth.
Though they start small, cavities gradually become bigger if left untreated. You or your child could experience tooth sensitivity and pain. You may notice black or white staining or a hole in a tooth.
Other causes of cavities include:
- Sugary or acidic foods/drinks
- Dry mouth
- Eating disorders
- Acid reflux disease
- Poor oral hygiene
- Not getting enough fluoride
About 13.2% of children between the ages of 5 and 19 have untreated cavities. The percentage increases as we age. Use these tips for your children and yourself.
You can protect their teeth by limiting their daily intake.
Adjust Your Diet
Help your entire family avoid cavities by following a healthy, balanced diet. Here are a few foods to eat and avoid. Foods that can help your family maintain healthy teeth include:
- Cheese, milk, and yogurt
- Celery, carrots, and other crunchy veggies
- Meats and fatty fish
- Leafy greens
- Apples, pears, and strawberries
These foods are high in vitamin C, vitamin A, and other beneficial vitamins and minerals. You can talk to your pediatric dentist for more recommendations.
Eating a protein-rich diet will help your family fill up before it’s time for dessert. You’re less likely to crave sweets if you have a satiating meal.
Drink More Water
Pair your healthy, balanced meals with a glass of water as water can benefit your overall health and oral hygiene.
It helps by washing away food particles, bacteria, and sugars that cling to your teeth after meals. Water also balances the pH levels in your mouth.
Brush and Floss
After meals, encourage your child to brush and floss their teeth. Neglecting to brush your teeth gives plaque the chance to form. Neglecting to floss can leave plaque and food particles trapped between their teeth.
The best floss will target the bacteria lying between your teeth (where a brush can’t reach) and will help to remove plaque. You should replace your brush every three or four months (more often if the bristles look frayed).
Routine Dentist Check-ups
Schedule routine check-ups with your pediatric dentist every six months. Regular dental appointments can protect your child’s oral health. The dentist can spot the early signs of cavities before one forms.
If your child does have a cavity, they can start treatment and help prevent tooth decay before it gets worse. Choose a pediatric dentist that offers comprehensive dental care services. They can customize your child’s treatments based on their needs.
Routine check-ups and cleanings will protect your child’s healthy teeth and gums. Don’t forget to schedule appointments for yourself! Lead by example to show your child the importance of caring for their teeth.
What Candy Is Bad for Fillings?
Though no candy is healthy, some options are more likely to cause cavities than others. After trick-or-treating, review the candy your child brought home.
Try to remove or limit the amount of sticky candies they have, including:
- Gummy bears
These candies can stick to your child’s teeth. They’re difficult to brush away, even with a diligent oral health routine.
Sour candies are acidic, which can break down your child’s protective tooth enamel. Remove sour candies from their bag. Avoid candy that can last for a long time, including hard candies or lollipops.
These candies remain in your child’s mouth for an extended period, coating their teeth in sugar. The bacteria in your child’s mouth will turn this sugar into acid. Cavities could form as a result.
Instead of sticky, gummy, or hard candies, eat chocolate. Choose options that don’t contain sticky additives like caramel. Chocolate is easy to clean away, making it the best candy to eat after Halloween.
Enjoy Halloween and Healthy Teeth
Learning how to avoid cavities during Halloween is easier than most parents realize. Use these tips to protect your family’s teeth and gums. With these tips, you can show off your healthy smiles with confidence.
Don’t forget to schedule regular dental cleanings and check-ups with your pediatric dentist! Our Tampa dentist team at McIlwain Dental Specialists offers quality and comprehensive preventative dental care. Schedule an appointment today to learn how to keep your family’s teeth healthy during the holiday season.