A Dentist’s Advice for Halloween
Assure A Smile Holistic Dentistry
Ask Dr. Ted
Trick-or-treating during Halloween can be a lot of fun. However, if you are not careful, too much candy can be a nightmare for your children’s dental health. There are smarter ways to celebrate the holiday, and you need not ban trick-or-treating for your kids. Instead, we offer the following practical advice.
Healthy Alternatives. It is best to avoid candy if possible. When you eat sweet treats, the bacteria in your mouth consume the sugar and then release acid which can lead to tooth decay. There are several great alternatives to candy. Instead choose healthy snacks, such as fresh fruit or nuts. Try veggies such as carrots or sugar snap peas. Avoid overly processed foods and chemicals. Consider making your own treats with your kids at Halloween. Look for healthy homemade snack recipes to bake and enjoy together. It is important to teach healthy meal and snack habits year-round to your kids.
Avoid “Bad” Candy. Halloween is just one day out of the year. So we understand if you choose to cheat a little. Just choose wisely. The worst candies are sticky and gummy varieties because they are harder to clean away from your teeth. Be careful with hard candies as they can actually break your teeth if you’re not careful. Also, hard candy and lollipops can be bad for teeth because they take longer to consume and stay in your mouth longer. Chocolate, and in particular dark chocolate, can be a safer choice. There are also a few nut and fruit bars on the market which are lower in sugar than most candy. Some of them offer added benefits such as protein and fiber. Be sure to read the label beforehand to know what you are consuming.
Have a Plan. If you do indulge in Halloween treats, have them as part of a meal or shortly afterward, rather than snacking on candy throughout the day. Limit your sweets stash, and have a plan or time limit for when you will get rid of excess candy. You might consider a candy “buy back” game with your kids. For example, pay your child $1 for every pound of candy they surrender to you after trick-or-treating.
Brush and Floss. When it comes to sweets, the goal is to minimize damage to your teeth which can be caused by sugar. Brushing and flossing are healthy habits year-round. If your family indulges in candy at Halloween, be sure to keep up with your brushing and flossing routine to remove any buildup of food particles and sugar from the teeth and gums. Our advice is to brush twice daily and floss once per day. This will go a long way in helping to avoid cavities and gum disease. A clean mouth is a healthy mouth.
We hope this advice helps you to navigate this ghoulish holiday season. Be safe, and have a Happy Halloween!
Dr. Ted Herrmann and Assure A Smile have served South Florida for over 25 years, helping to guide patients to better oral health for life. We are a family friendly dentist, offering a full range of quality dental care, such as routine cleanings, crowns, Invisalign clear braces and more. We encourage a unique holistic approach to healthy teeth and gums. We invite you to call us today and schedule an appointment.
Assure A Smile
9220 SW 72nd Street, Suite 205, Miami, FL 33173