Halloween means something exciting to your children: CANDY! To our team at Panama City Smiles it has a very different meaning: tooth decay!
Halloween is coming and with it is ever dentist’s worst nightmare. Not giving candy to frighteningly dressed kids – what the sugar will do to their teeth! Talk about a spooky concept! Now don’t get us wrong – we don’t want to stop your young ghosts and goblins from enjoying the holiday. We just want them to do it safely!
That’s why we want to give you some info about sugar and your children’s health and some tips on how to keep them healthy and happy this Halloween season!
Sugar: What Exactly Does It Do?
Let’s break it down by the two big types of sugar: fructose and glucose. Fructose is the really sweet stuff that’s found in candy, cookies, anything that’s “sugary.” Glucose isn’t nearly as sweet. It comes in products that are made with refined carbohydrates (think breads, crackers, pretzels and things like that).
The bacteria that lives in your mouth loves both kinds of sugar. It doesn’t discriminate and devours both whenever you eat something that contains it. After it metabolizes the sugar it turns it into acids that destroy your enamel. That’s the very start of tooth decay!
An acid attack from sugar lasts about a half an hour. But guess what happens when you eat sugary snacks over a prolonged period of time? It lasts until a half hour after that sugar binge ends! Around Halloween time that can mean hours and hours of acid attacks on your children’s teeth!
It doesn’t take long for that sugar to start causing decay. In fact it happens at the smallest levels all the time! Using fluoride toothpaste and drinking water can restore the smallest bits of damage on a regular basis – you don’t even realize it!
What To Do About Halloween?
Don’t let our tales of tooth torment keep you from letting your young ones enjoy the spoils of another year out on the candy prowl! We love to use things like Halloween as learning experiences in eating well, caring for your teeth, and learning self-control!
- Before setting out on the night’s adventures feed your caped crusaders and princesses a nice healthy meal. This will keep them full and prevent a bunch of excess snacking that evening!
- When your children return home from trick-or-treating be sure to offer a healthy snack. They might ignore it but at least you’re giving them another option! You should also have water on hand – that’s an important part of keeping the mouth clean of excess sugar and acid!
- The key to making sure your children aren’t scarfing down too much sugar in one sitting is to make them ration it! It’s not a bad idea to take the candy from them and let them pick out a few pieces each day. That way they can make it last and you can stop them from a whole day of bad dental decisions!
- Rationing also goes hand-in-hand with giving them some of the candy as a reward. If they’ve done extra chores or really been exceptional you can give them an extra piece or two as a treat!
- If that pillowcase full of candy is a bit too much for them you can also offer to buy back some of their treats! By simply offering a bit of change for each piece they surrender you’re getting excess sugar out of their hands and also giving them some spending money!
- Make sure they’re brushing their teeth well at least twice a day! For an added bit of protection make sure the toothpaste they’re using contains fluoride.
A Strategy For Success
All of the home care and candy rationing in the world isn’t a substitute for good professional dental care! To be sure you’re setting your children up for a future of healthy teeth be sure to see us at Panama City Smiles every six months for a checkup and cleaning!
Better yet, see us a few weeks after Halloween. It’s not a bad idea to make sure that candy isn’t haunting your children’s mouths! Call us today at (850) 588-0185 or request an appointment by filling out our online form. We’ll see you soon!