Halloween sweets don’t have to wreck havoc on the teeth of your little trick-or-treaters. Children can enjoy some Halloween candy and still avoid sugar-related tooth decay. The key to preventing tooth decay lies in limiting the amount of candy children eat, and reducing the time sugar remains in the mouth.
Brushing teeth as soon as possible after eating candy may keep harmful bacteria from developing.
Children and parents can take additional steps to protect their teeth:
• Parents should examine their children’s candy and remove anything they consider unacceptable before allowing their kids to eat it.
• Avoid candy that is too tacky or gummy, which can stick to teeth and cause decay.
• No matter what time of day children eat candy, they should remember to have good dental hygiene.
• Before Halloween rolls around, a dentist can put sealants into the grooves of children’s teeth to protect them against corrosion caused by too much sugar. Ask your pediatric dentist if sealants would be good for your child.
For more information from the American Dental Association, visit http://www.ada.org/
By Dr. Richard Mungo, chair of pediatric dentistry at CHOC
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‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year!’… especially for holiday treats and candy! While it’s quite nice to enjoy this season’s treats, keep these tips in mind to ensure your children enjoy the spirit of the season – without the toothache!
- Make sure your child maintains a balanced diet. While sweets abound during this time of the year, try to limit the amount of sugary and starch-filled goodies given to your child. Try some sliced fruit, raw vegetables with dip, string cheese, and yogurt, instead.
- Encourage good oral health habits with your children, including brushing at least twice a day, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly. If sugar is not removed with brushing, it can remain in the crevices of your child’s teeth long after sweets have been consumed.
- Have your children use an age-appropriate mouthwash in the evening to strengthen their teeth and rebuild the enamel, which helps prevent cavities.
Also, keep Christmas lights and electrical cords out of the reach of children – especially infants who may be crawling and can put items in their mouths, explains Richard Mungo, D.D.S., a pediatric dentist at CHOC Children’s and Medical Director of the Healthy Smiles for Children of Orange County Oral Health Care Center. He has treated children who have suffered burns to the side of their mouths due to chewing on these cords.
Remember, your children’s dental care is an important part of their overall health, during the holidays and year-round! “It’s really never too early for parents to take an active role in preventing tooth decay in their children—even before kids get their first tooth,” says Dr. Mungo.
For more tips to protect your little one’s teeth, check out the latest issue of CHOC’s Kids Health newsletter: http://www.choc.org/publications/articles.cfm?id=P00303&pub=KH&aid=537
For more information on CHOC Children’s Pediatric Specialties, visit http://www.choc.org/specialties/index.cfm?id=P00414