October 2014 Newsletter

A Tooth Friendly Halloween!

By Nathan Haas  |  

We are right around the corner from Halloween and I must say it is one of my favorite nights of the year, as it is so much fun for both the kids and adults. This year seems to be one that I am getting a lot of questions from parents about preventing cavities caused by a large amount of candy eaten after Halloween. One thing I always try to tell parents is it is the frequency of the candy that causes the problem not so much the amount or type.

So first, let me tell you what I do with my children, mind you, they are young and cannot eat too much candy yet without feeling sick, this is the rule around our house. The evening and day after Halloween the kids are given their bag of candy and told to go to town, yes they can eat all the candy they want those two days. After the second day though I take it away and we either dispose of it, give it away or my wife and me hide it in OUR closet and sample a few sweets.

The reason I do this is one again, the frequency. Imagine if you give your child 1-2 Halloween treats each day until the sack is empty, well that can add up to quite a few days of candy/sugar exposure. This is where the problem is, the child has constant exposure to sugar on his teeth on a daily basis for let's say, for example's sake, 60 days. This adds up to a lot of exposure to sugar for that cavity causing bacteria lurking in the mouth. Most kids bring these Halloween treats to school in which case the sugar/simple carbohydrate is in the mouth for the day (especially in the case of stickier candies like toffee, caramels, gummies, licorice, chocolate bars, you get the drift) as most children do not brush their teeth during the school day (I am being realistic here, though I would love it if they did after lunch ;) Even chips have the potential to stick in the teeth and since they are carbohydrates, they also have the potential to cause cavities if they stick in the teeth. Any kind of carbohydrate has the potential to break down in the mouth, increase the acidity level and cause decay/cavities

So my recommendation, give them the candy, tell them to eat as much as they like Halloween night and the day after, then tell them it is going away (what you do with it depends on you, but the thing here is to pretend it is gone for good). If you just give it to them on a short-term basis you are limiting the sugar exposure to the teeth thus reducing your risk of developing new cavities.

If this technique does not work in your house and the kids want to keep the candy to have some each day, the good oral hygiene rules will need to be applied a little more vigorously to prevent cavities:

  • Floss once a day (for those children not old enough to do it on their own, parents you will need to step in and do it for them). 
  • Brush 3 times a day for a minimum of 2 minutes, paying special attention to the biting surfaces of the teeth. 
  • If you cannot brush during the day, drinking water will help rinse the mouth. 
  • As well, I really like sugar-free gum, chew it for a few minutes after a meal or sweets and it will help increase your salivary flow which can buffer the mouth (it can also help loosen up food in the biting surfaces of the teeth). 
  • I would also recommend that a daily or weekly fluoride rinse is incorporated to help prevent new cavities from forming on the surfaces of the teeth).

Follow my teeth friendly Halloween habits and hopefully, you will have a cavity-free Halloween 2014.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com 

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