Dr. Natalie Archer on the day after Halloween….
Here we are November 1st, the day after Halloween. Our little trick-or-treaters have been door to door for their treats, gone through all their candy to find their favourite sweets and now are likely asking you at least a few times a day if they can have “just one more” sugary treat!
It’s inevitable that most all of our children love to eat their Halloween candy! But, as a Toronto Dentist, I see an influx of cavities and other oral health issues in children after this spooky time of year.
Dr. Natalie Archer explains how cavities are formed…
When your child enjoys a sugar-filled food or drink, the bacteria in the plaque on the teeth mix with the sugars in the candy to make an acid. The acid in turn attacks the tooth enamel. If the plaque is not removed daily, then the enamel gets soft and a cavity is formed. The longer and more often sugar is on the teeth, the more damage it can do to your little one’s smile.
It’s so very important for parents to limit their child’s candy intake and to really stick to a strict oral health routine. As a parent myself, I know it can be a challenge to get our children to brush and floss on a regular basis, so I would like to share with you some tips on how to keep those smiles healthy long after October 31st.
Dr. Natalie Archer’s Tips for a Healthy Post-Halloween Smile:
- Limit the number of times a day your child eats sugary foods between meals. Serve snacks that will not harm your child’s teeth, such as vegetables, cheese, nuts or seeds.
- Try to eat sugary treats at the end of mealtime while there is still plenty of saliva in the mouth. Saliva helps to wash away the sugars and acids.
- Drink a glass of water after eating a Halloween treat, this help wash away some of the sugars and acids.
- Avoid soft, sticky treats that get stuck between teeth and are more difficult to brush and floss away.
- Always have your child brush and floss before going to bed and if possible, after eating a piece of candy.
For those with braces…
I often get parents of children with braces asking me if they can still eat Halloween candy? My answer is “Of course!” however, extra care must be taken. First off avoid nuts, popcorn, tortilla chips, hard candy, caramel and other chewy candies in order to keep their braces safe and intact. Usually, a plainer type of chocolate bar is okay. After enjoying a treat, be sure to pay extra special attention to those braces – brush and floss! Alternatively, you can have your child “trade-in” their candy for another something special, like going to a movie, a small toy or new book.
Following these simple tips and moderating the number of sugary treats your child consumes, should keep everyone happy, healthy and cavity-free!
*Written with reference to the Canadian Dental Association website.