It’s the time of year when pumpkins are being carved, houses are decorated in orange and black, and kids are preparing to put on their well-planned costumes and head door to door collecting tricks or treats. This Halloween season, all of us at our Wichita pediatric dental office want to tell you a tale about some of the scariest treats that can end up in your little one’s goody bag and how to avoid them.
It was a dark and stormy night. Little Johnny, dressed as the cutest ghost ever, tricked and treated his way through his neighborhood. When he got home and emptied his full bag of candy on the living room floor, his mom’s eyes grew wide; she knew exactly what type of damage the sticky, chewy, gooey sweets could do to Johnny’s smile. That was last year. This year, Johnny’s mom has a plan to combat the scary, cavity-causing collection gathered every Halloween, and we’re going to share it with you.
Step 1: Limit the amount of time sugar is on your kid’s teeth.
Candy is dangerous for our teeth. We all know that. However, there are certain types of candy that are worse than others. For example, candy that’s sticky, like caramels and lollipops, are in the mouth for a long time. This means that the teeth are being constantly exposed to the sugar, and candy that tends to linger around on teeth for a long time increases the chance for decay and cavities.
If your child is going to munch on some sweets this Halloween, try to make sure they don’t fall into the ‘scary’ category. Instead, choose treats that can be eaten quickly and don’t have much potential for sticking to the teeth even after the snack is gone.
Step 2: Offer healthier alternatives.
You’ll often find your pediatric dentist in Wichita talking about how sweets are bad for smiles. Why is this? Sugary snacks cause acids to form in the mouth, which can lead to decay and other dental problems. In fact, the acids can hang around and continue to be damaging for at least 20 minutes. At that point, they begin to neutralize. To help your child avoid the damaging effects of acid, offer them healthier alternatives like sugar-free gum with xylitol, apples, or other fun and festive treats. If you’re handing out to trick-or-treaters, sugar-free gum with xylitol still feels like you’re giving candy, but without the damaging ingredients.
Step 3: Brush up on oral health habits.
Halloween is a great time to remind kids of the damaging effects not only caused by candy, but also by improper oral hygiene. Make sure that your child is brushing twice a day, flossing, and drinking plenty of water. Water is great for the health of your body, and it’s also super helpful in flushing out bacteria and any lingering food particles after eating.
As always, it’s extremely important during these growing-up years that your kids learn and follow a healthy routine. Make sure they know the importance of visiting our pediatric dental office in Wichita and how much fun taking care of your smile can be.
We welcome patients from Wichita, Maize, Goddard, and surrounding areas.