Fall is certainly upon us as cooler weather rolls in and the days grow shorter. If you’ve been to a grocery store recently, you’ve seen the display stands and aisles full of various candies reminding everyone that Halloween is coming soon!
There is a lot of preparation that goes into celebrating Halloween as a family. Costumes are picked out, decorations are put up, and trick-or-treating routes are mapped out. A good plan goes a long way toward a successful holiday season! In order to ensure that the spooky season doesn’t turn scary for your teeth, here are a few dental tips to help you prepare for a healthy Halloween!
Stay Clear of Sticky
Sweets like gummy bears and caramels stick around in your teeth and take longer to be washed away by saliva. The longer they stick around, the greater your risk for tooth decay. Sticky hard candies like lollipops and jawbreakers can also put your teeth at risk as they can potentially cause a dental emergency like a chipped tooth. So stay safe and steer clear of sticky this Halloween! However, if you do find yourself in a dental emergency, schedule an appointment to come see your dentist!
Are you a chocoholic? Then you’ll love this tip! Did you know that chocolate is better than candy for your teeth? The reason comes down to timing. While hard and chewy candies stay in your mouth longer, chocolate dissolves easily meaning the sugar has less contact with your teeth.
If you really want to have a healthy Halloween, stick to dark chocolates! Not only does dark chocolate have less sugar, some studies have found that it contains compounds that can provide plaque-fighting benefits and help harden enamel.
Have a Hydrated Halloween
Hydration is a good idea any time of year, but it can be especially beneficial around Halloween! When it comes to maintaining your oral health, water is the best drink option around. Water helps rinse away the sugar that may be clinging to your teeth and helps balance out pH levels that may have been affected by sugar. If you choose fluoridated water, it’s even better!
Why fluoridated water? Water with fluoride helps your teeth become more resistant to the acid that causes cavities. Many local water systems have fluoridated water, so most likely you can simply fill a glass straight from your tap. A hydrated Halloween is a happy Halloween!
Keep it Clean
While water definitely helps with oral health, it certainly does not replace a good brushing! The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste. Halloween is a particularly good time to follow ADA guidelines, as brushing is the best way to prevent cavities! Try and brush your teeth as soon as possible after eating candy to help remove harmful bacteria.
If you haven’t replaced your toothbrush recently, maybe now is a good time! Toothbrushes should be replaced every three to four months, or sooner if you discover you have frayed bristles. Remember, a worn-out toothbrush does not result in a good cleaning of your teeth.
Do the Floss
No, we’re not talking about the dance move! Brushing is important, but there are places where bristles cannot reach. Flossing will help remove any candy particles from being stuck in those hard-to-reach places. Here are some easy flossing techniques to use:
- Floss gently by sliding it up and down between your teeth.
- Make sure you go beneath the gum line by curving the floss gently around the base of each tooth.
- To prevent potential cutting or bruising of the gum tissue, never force the floss.
- Don’t reuse the same section of floss. Instead, use clean sections as you move from tooth to tooth.
Now that your gums are happy, if you want to do the floss after flossing, we definitely won’t stop you!
Bonus Dental Tip for a Healthy Halloween
Make a plan ahead of time for how your family plans to work its way through the candy collected this Halloween. One idea is to pick out your favorites and then donate the remaining candy to an organization like Soldiers’ Angels which sends “Treats for Troops” to deployed service members and veterans. Another idea is to have a Sweet Switch where candy can be exchanged for toys or books. Whether you plan to donate, exchange, or keep all of the candy, the important thing is to set expectations early.
As your family prepares for Halloween this year, keep in mind these few dental tips to ensure your holiday season remains sweet!