Halloween can be a scary time for your oral health. Indulging in more candy than usual may be festive, but it can be devastating for your teeth. After all, sugar encourages the development of cavities and tooth decay.
No one wants to hear that they have a cavity. Still, if you want to keep your teeth cavity-free this Halloween, you need to be proactive. Start by following the 13 tips included on the following list, then book an appointment to visit a Mississauga dentist at Bristol Dental Clinic.
Tip #1: Brush Twice a Day
One of the best ways to prevent cavities from developing this October is simply to maintain good oral hygiene habits. Between Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Valentine’s Day, we tend to consume far more sugar than we should. Slacking on your oral hygiene during the fall and winter is one of the worst things you can do, regardless of your age.
Everyone should brush their teeth twice a day: once in the morning and again in the evening. It’s important to wait 30 minutes after eating to avoid damaging the enamel while brushing. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. This will remove food debris, sugar, and starches left behind from all that candy.
Tip #2: Don’t Forget to Floss
There are areas in your mouth that toothbrush bristles struggle to reach. That’s when flossing comes in. Flossing removes debris, sugar, and bacteria that accumulate in hard-to-reach places, thus helping to keep your mouth free from cavities. You should floss once a day.
Tip #3: Drink Water Afterwards
Drinking water helps to flush leftover food particles, bacteria, and sugar residue from the mouth. Consequently, just rinsing your mouth with water after enjoying some candy can reduce the risk of tooth decay. Otherwise, the sugars will cling to the surface of the teeth, promoting the development of plaque and cavities.
Tip #4: Trick or Treat With a Small Bag
Less candy equals less temptation. Protecting the oral health of your entire household is easier if there isn’t a giant stash of easily accessible candy. However, cutting your child’s trick-or-treating short feels almost Grinch-like. A smaller bag is one possible solution. This limits how much candy can be brought home at the end of the night.
Tip #5: Create Some Rules
Before anyone puts on their costumes, try creating some ground rules for candy consumption. Setting expectations early can prevent future arguments. For example, how much candy can be eaten on Halloween night? Will there be a daily candy limit or time restrictions for when candy can be consumed? Will your child be allowed to keep all of their Halloween candy, or will they have to donate some of it?
Tip #6: Donate Extra Candy
Is there really such a thing as extra candy? There can be. Neither you nor your kids need to eat all the sweet treats that were collected on Halloween. Chances are, there are a few candy or chocolate brands that are your favourites…and others that you’re less fond of.
The easiest way to reduce your child’s candy consumption is to cull their collection. At the end of the night, sit down with them and pick out their favourite candy before donating the rest. Many communities have buyback or donation programs that redistribute candy to less fortunate kids.
Not only are you protecting your child’s oral health, you’re also teaching them a valuable lesson about giving back to their communities.
Tip #7: Don’t Snack on Candy
Snacking isn’t good for anyone’s oral health. Frequent grazing means your mouth is always combatting the buildup of sugars, starches, and other residue. The mouth becomes a highly acidic environment, which wears down tooth enamel and promotes decay.
However, snacking on candy is even worse because of the high sugar content. It may seem contradictory, but spacing out candy consumption throughout the day is less healthy than eating multiple pieces at once.
Tip #8: Eat Sweet Treats With Meals
We’ve established that snacking on candy can accelerate tooth decay. So, when is the best time to enjoy your Halloween treats?
Candy, chocolate, desserts, and other sweet treats are best consumed immediately after eating a (healthy) meal. Our mouths produce more saliva during meals, which then helps to wash away the sugary residue left behind by candy. Plus, you’ll have less room for candy after enjoying a full meal.
Tip #9: Make Alternative Treats
If you’re throwing a Halloween party or having a quieter evening at home, try skipping the candy altogether. You can create healthier Halloween treats while still keeping the spooky spirit alive. These alternatives are delicious and far healthier for your teeth.
For example, dip strawberries in white chocolate to make “ghosts” or create some Halloween theme-shaped roasted vegetables.
Tip #10: Supplement With Healthy Food
Even if you manage to limit candy consumption at home, you might still be having more sugar than normal. Consequently, it’s extra important to ensure that all other meals are as healthy as possible. A healthy, balanced diet is essential for oral and overall health. You’re also less likely to crave something sweet after a satiating meal.
Tip #11: Say No to Sugary Beverages
Sweetened beverages add unnecessary sugars to your day, working against your oral and overall health. These drinks promote tooth decay, which is the last thing you want during the holidays. Water is always the better option. It’s hydrating, washes away sugar residue, encourages saliva production, and balances the pH levels in your mouth.
Tip #12: Avoid Sticky, Sour, and Hard Candy
Some candy does more damage than others. Sticky, sour, and hard candy are particularly bad for your oral health and can promote the development of cavities.
Hard candies may be the worst. They stay in the mouth for longer, slowly dissolving and coating the teeth in sugar.
Sticky or gummy candies, on the other hand, cling to the surface of the teeth. Since the residue is difficult to wash or brush away, it’s often left behind. Over time, it can end up causing tooth decay.
Finally, sour candies wear down the tooth enamel because they are highly acidic.
Tip #13: Schedule a Regular Dental Cleaning in Mississauga
Some plaque and tartar are impossible to remove with brushing alone. Eventually, these often lead to tooth decay and cavities. The only way to fully eradicate deposits of plaque and tartar is with a professional cleaning from your dentist in Mississauga.
During your regular checkup, the dentist performs a thorough cleaning and checks for signs of developing tooth decay (and other issues). It’s important to catch any oral health complications early while they’re easily treatable. Dentists can diagnose cavities long before you start to feel a toothache.
Remember, too, that you should visit your dentist twice a year.
Bristol Dental Clinic in Mississauga has a full team of family, cosmetic, and specialty dentists. We pride ourselves on providing the highest standards of dental care for the whole family. Reach out to us today to schedule your post-Halloween cleaning.