Your Halloween probably looked a lot different this year. The pandemic has introduced new social distancing and sanitation procedures, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the allure of Halloween candy. Kids and adults alike look forward to Halloween candy every year. In fact, U.S. households spent nearly $2.6 billion on candy alone last fall! That equates to up to three cups of sugar for each child – which means plenty of cavities.
Sugar converts into acid in your mouth, wearing down your protective layer of enamel and making it easier for decay to set in. Children are particularly susceptible to cavities, as they may not have a solid oral hygiene routine (or be prone to avoiding it entirely). With a sudden influx of sugar from trick-or-treating, the weeks after Halloween are crucial to ensuring that your child stays cavity-free. Use these dental tips to help keep your child’s mouth protected against post-Halloween cavities.
1. Limit sticky, sour, and hard candies
All sugar can damage your teeth, but when it comes to Halloween candies, some are more damaging than others. Sticky, sour, and hard candies should be limited as much as possible (or avoided altogether). Taffy and caramels can easily get stuck between the crevices of teeth, while sour candies contain high amounts of sugar and acid. Hard candies, such as lollipops, take much longer to dissolve, meaning that teeth will come into contact with sugar for a prolonged period of time. They can even cause teeth to become chipped or cracked if your child bites down too hard.
2. Set aside time to eat candy
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is eating sugar throughout the day. Rather than letting your child snack on Halloween candy throughout the day, set aside a specific time to dive into the Halloween stash. The best approach is to eat candy after a meal, since eating promotes saliva production. This will make it much easier for saliva to naturally wash away any lingering sugar particles before they are broken down into acid. Eating candy after dinner is a great way to ensure that any remaining sugar particles are brushed and flossed away before bedtime.
3. Have a solid oral hygiene routine
The weeks after Halloween are a great opportunity to revisit your child’s oral hygiene. With the holiday season just around the corner, there will be plenty of sugar and snacking to come. Instilling good oral hygiene habits now will help ensure that your child’s mouth is well-protected against cavities. Make sure they are brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash twice a day. Encourage them to create healthy oral hygiene habits now to avoid dental work in the future. You can even put together a progress chart to help them stay engaged and on track!
Has your child had their annual check-up yet? Now is the perfect time to schedule an appointment with Caputo Dental! Even the most thorough brushing and flossing may not be enough to avoid post-Halloween cavities entirely. Catching signs of tooth decay as soon as possible is crucial to ensuring that your child’s teeth are developing properly. Reach out to Caputo Dental today to ensure that your child’s mouth is healthy and cavity-free!