Halloween is not far away. By now, your child is probably thinking about candies, costumes, pumpkin carving, and school parties.
Each year Americans spend nearly $9 billion on candy. In October, much of that candy ends up on the teeth of the 41 million trick-or-treating children ages 5 – 14 across the U.S. However, the (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) AAPD wants parents to know that when it comes to keeping children’s teeth healthy, not all treats are created equal.
"The longer teeth are exposed to sugars, the longer cavity-causing bacteria have to feed on them. Instead of gummy, sticky candy, offer children candy that melts and disappears quickly – like chocolate," suggests AAPD President Dr. Robert Delarosa. "And always make sure children brush and floss their teeth before going to bed."
Cavities are scarier than a Halloween monster. Our staff at Bunker Hill Pediatric Dentistry in Houston, TX has some tips to protect your child's smile from cavities on Halloween and the following holiday.
1. Eat Before Trick-or-Treating
You should serve your kids a full and healthy meal before trick-or-treating. Making dinner can be a challenge due to your child's school schedule and Halloween costume preparation, but it is manageable if you plan ahead.
2. Moderate Candy Consumption
Filling your candy dishes with Halloween candy can be irresistible, but try to avoid that temptation this year. Encourage your child to save a portion of their candy treats for another occasion.
3. Pay Attention to Time of Day
Eating candy at midday without brushing makes sugar remain on the tooth surface longer and triggers tooth decay. As a general rule of thumb, let your child enjoy his/her sweet treats prior to brushing.
4. Pick Chocolate
Chocolate is a better alternative than hard candies because sticky candies get stuck on teeth surfaces for extended amounts of time, making them harder to wash away.
Happy Halloween from all of us at Bunker Hill Pediatric Dentistry!