Expert Tips for Candy Celebrations:
Sort Your Treats During Halloween and Holidays
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) did a great job last month stressing the importance of maintaining healthy teeth and gums during Halloween. Through their website, mychildrensteeth.org and their media campaign, they remind parents and children that kids should not only curtail the amount of candy they consume, but should also avoid the more sticky and gooey sweets (gummies, caramels, sour candies). These types of sweets can get stuck in the grooves and crevices of the teeth making it more difficult for the saliva in the mouth to wash them away. Sour candies add an additional harm since they have a high acid content that can erode the tooth enamel making it even easier for a cavity to form.
According to the AAPD, the more tooth-friendly Halloween treat is milk chocolate, which isn’t sticky or acidic. Dark chocolate is even better since it has antioxidants such as polyphenols and flavonoids, which can actually stop the unhealthy bacteria from sticking to the teeth, prevent gum infections and fight tooth decay.
Remember there are four ingredients necessary to make a cavity: 1) bacteria, 2) a tooth, 3) carbohydrates (sugars) and 4) time.
Also, according to research, sugarless gum that contains xylitol can actually promote the presence of healthy bacteria that protect the teeth and fight the buildup of plaque. Chewing gum also creates mouth-cleansing saliva.
To reduce the amount of candy that is consumed in your household, consider participating in the Halloween Candy BuyBack program. Many dentists are offering to buy back the excess candy stash. To find a participating dentist in your area just enter your zip code on the AAPD website (http://www.aapd.org/finddentist/). The candy surplus that is collected is then mailed to Operation Gratitude, which ships the candy, along with toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss as well as entertainment and homemade items to our troops overseas.
Check out the candy sorter with your little ones to decide which candy to keep for a fun treat and which to get rid of! http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/watch-out-for-ghosts-goblins-and-mouth-monsters-this-halloween/
Also, remember the importance of SWISH and BRUSH! If kids are indulging in any kind of candy, ensure they drink plenty of water after eating the treat. Encourage them to swish the water around in their mouth to help dislodge particles that can get stuck and encourage the Mouth Monsters to latch onto tiny teeth. Remember the most important prevention tip: DON”T LET YOUR YOUNG ONES GO TO BED BEFORE BRUSHING AND FLOSSING with fluoride toothpaste and adult supervision. Halloween is a busy time, but as is the case with every other day of the year, kids should brush their teeth for at least 2 minutes, twice a day.