Spooky Halloweens are great, but you don’t want the scary stories to be about whats happening inside your child’s mouth. During the upcoming candy extravaganza, here are a few tips from your San Francisco dentist to help maintain your child’s dental health.
Have some trading options ready
When your child is finished trick-or-treating, he or she will probably be eager to show you their treasure-trove of sugary loot. This is your chance to go through and remove the real problem-causers. So, how do you convince your child to relinquish a portion of their holiday loot? Have something ready for trade: it can be a few small special toys or privileges, or a fun outing. If you can enact a trade that leaves your child feeling richer, you can quietly get rid of the most dangerous types of treats:
- Sour candies
Those sour fruit candies are the very worst culprits when it comes to tooth decay, because they contain acids that etch away the protective layers of enamel. Some of the newer candies are so intensely acidic that they are nearly equivalent to battery acid, and they can actually burn the tongue and insides of the cheeks while causing permanent damage to the teeth.
- Hard candies or lollipops
Candies that have to be sucked on for a long time end up bathing the teeth in destructive sugars for extended periods. Just as your dentist warned not to put your child to bed with a bottle of sweet fruit juice that would pool in the mouth for hours, you need to prevent them from spending hours sucking on hard candies. These types of sweets also pose the secondary danger of possibly chipping teeth if the child bites down on them, because sugar crystals can be surprisingly hard.
- Super-chewy candies
Some caramels are as soft as butter, and wont cause harm to fillings and dental work. The ones to watch out for are the tough, dense types of candies that really take some effort to bite into. Inside the mouth, these act like glue, sticking with terrific force to the small indentations in the teeth and working their evil decaying magic over many hours.
A lot at once is better than a little at a time
This may be counter-intuitive, but your friendly San Francisco dentist is here to tell you that its actually better for dental health if children eat four candy bars all in one sitting than if they try to make them last for days and days. Give your child an early nutritious dinner before trick-or-treating begins, trade out the worst problem candies, and then let him or her just dig in to what they have left. The sooner that bag of Halloween candy is history, the happier your children’s teeth will be!