bad-halloween-candyHalloween is often what comes to mind when you think of October, but did you know that October is also National Dental Hygiene month? It seems kind of odd that the same month that spreads awareness of the importance of dental hygiene is in the same month that wreaks the most havoc on your teeth.

Though it would not be fair to rob your kids of candy this Halloween, here are some of the kinds of candy that are worse for your child’s teeth:

  1. Sugary candy and snacks: While this is a no-brainer, as many know that cavities are caused by excessive sugar. Cookies, cake and candy corn are examples of sugar loaded treats to eat in moderation.
  2. Chewy or sticky candy and treats: Taffy, caramel, gummy candy, and gum are bad for your child’s teeth as particles can easily get stuck or stick to crevices on or between teeth, making it hard to completely remove them.
  3. Sour candy: The acid found in sour candy is harmful to the tooth enamel, often breaking it down.

Saliva is your mouth’s natural cleaning solution, the more saliva that is produced, the better it can clean your mouth. The candies and treats above hinder the natural teeth cleaning of saliva, increasing the risk of plaque build-up.

While candy is not recommended for good childrens’ dental health, there are some candies that are better for your teeth than those listed above. These ‘good’ candies include:

  1. Sugar-free lollipops and hard candies: Hard candies stimulate saliva, which improves the natural cleanliness of your child’s mouth and teeth.
  2. Sugar-free gum: Sugar-free gum actually has many good purposes, including stimulating saliva, dislodging food particles between teeth and neutralizing the acid that is found in your child’s mouth. All these functions together lower the chance of cavities.
  3. Dark chocolate: While chocolate has a lot of sugar, dark chocolate can be beneficial to your health. Though the antioxidants found in dark chocolate don’t have a direct benefit on your child’s dental health, they are good for the heart and can lower blood pressure.

While your children’s mouth’s natural cleaning system is engaged, it is not enough to compensate for the massive onslaught of candy that will inevitably be consumed. This is why you need to make sure that your children practice good dental hygiene.

Tips to Keep Up Dental Hygiene?

Here are some things that you can do to help keep your child’s dental hygiene strong:

  1. Monitor your child’s candy intake. Limit how much candy your children are allowed to eat each day. Some parents find that setting aside a certain time during the day where kids can eat candy helpful. No matter what you do, you should be sure to keep the left-over candy out of sight and out of reach of your children. Don’t try to force your kids to eat all their candy. Throw-out, donate or freeze leftover candy.
  2. Maintain a daily brushing schedule. Kids should brush their teeth after eating candy. Make brushing fun by rewarding your kids for good brushing. Always check to make sure they brush their teeth before going to bed.
  3. Use mouthwash. There are some mouthwashes made specifically for children that is not harmful if accidently swallowed. Mouthwash should be used on top of brushing to remove stubborn plaque that may have been missed during brushing. Mouthwash should not be used as a substitute for brushing.
  4. Regular dental checkups and cleanings: Your child should see us at least every 6 months for a check-up and professional cleaning. While self-care is important to dental health, a professional cleaning is more thorough and can clean areas your child may have missed.

At Family Dental Health we’re passionate about your family’s dental health. We provide a friendly, patient-centered atmosphere where your kids will feel welcomed. Contact us now to set up an appointment today.