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If your children are of trick-or-treating age, don’t let fear of cavities scare you this Halloween. We are treating you to some tricks to help your children maintain a healthy smile, even if they have a few pieces of candy here and there.
Make this year a tooth-healthy Halloween by choosing your treats wisely, practicing healthy habits to limit sugar and planning ahead for your child’s dental care.
While all Halloween candies contain sugars that can harm teeth, some can cause more damage than others. Chewy and hard candies, such as caramel or suckers, can be particularly harmful. These candies are typically in the mouth longer, exposing teeth to sugar for a prolonged period of time, which can cause cavities. Plus, residue from chewy and hard candy remains on teeth longer than other types of candy and can lead to tooth decay. Hard candies also pose a risk of a dental emergency, like cracking or breaking a tooth, if your child accidentally bites down on them. And, if your child has braces, chewy candy can get stuck to them and damage or break the metal wiring.
Try to limit your kids’ consumption of chewy or hard candies around the house during Halloween, and opt for candy that is less likely to damage teeth, such as chocolate or sugarless gum. Chocolate melts quickly and is less likely to get stuck to children’s teeth, and sugarless gum has been proven to help prevent cavities.
If you’re having a Halloween party, be sure to offer some healthy snacks to balance out other sugary treats. Eating fruits or vegetables after consuming candy or other sweets can help clean sugary residue from the surface of your teeth. And, of course, encourage your guests to drink water instead of soda. At the end of the night, offer party favors that promote good oral health habits, such as toothbrushes, stickers or sugarless gum, to your guests.
It’s always important to floss daily and brush teeth after every meal, but it’s especially important to keep up with these practices when your children are consuming high levels of sugar around Halloween.
During Halloween season, be sure that your child brushes their teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes each time with a fluoride toothpaste (or after eating candy) and flosses once a day. Also, encourage them to drink water after eating candy or sweets. Water helps rinse away sugar that can get stuck to the surface of their teeth. Eating candy with a full meal, instead of on its own as a snack, can also help protect teeth. That’s because chewing during a meal encourages your mouth to produce more saliva, helping to rinse sugar from teeth.
Before your child develops a cavity from their sugary candy consumption during Halloween, consider additional dental treatments, such as dental sealants
Dental sealants help prevent tooth decay year-round and are recommended by the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. It’s most beneficial to apply sealants to your child’s permanent molars, which usually develop between ages 11 to 14.
Applying dental sealants is a quick and painless procedure, so talk to your child’s dentist about applying sealants during your next appointment. To schedule your child’s next appointment, get started by finding a dentist near you.
Halloween doesn’t have to be a scary time for your child’s teeth. Cavities are preventable with good oral health habits, such as eating sugar in moderation, brushing twice a day, flossing daily and visiting the dentist regularly.
Need a dentist near home, work or your kids' school? With one of the largest networks in the country, we make it easy to find a dentist who fits your location and your schedule.
*All TruAssure dental plans, other than Basic and Preferred dental plans, are offered in association with the DenteMax Plus dental network arrangement, which includes participating dentists from the United Concordia, DenteMax and Connection dental networks in all states but North Carolina, where the DenteMax Plus network arrangement includes DenteMax and Connection dental networks. TruAssure Basic and Preferred dental plans are offered in association with the DenteMax dental network.
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