Must-know info about your kids’ oral hygiene: SmileTown Dental Team’s guide to keeping your kids’ teeth as protected as possible this Halloween It’s the most frightening time of year for all dentists who treat children : Halloween! Nightmares fill our minds with images of angry red-eyed cavities and ghost-like plaque attacking the teeth of our beloved patients! We know Halloween is a time where parents share our fear and question the repercussions of eating mounds and mounds of sweets on their kids’ oral health. We’ll start by stating the obvious: candy and sweets are bad for your children’s teeth. Second obvious statement: kids are going to eat candy on Halloween! We would never want to deprive children of the fun rituals of Halloween by telling them not to eat any candy (which kids would realistically never follow anyways), so we’ll give parents some tricks and tips to help their kids protect their teeth this Halloween! Kids will still enjoy their candy and parents can put a little control on their enjoyment and reduce damage to their kids’ pearly whites:
1.) Meals : Bacteria create acid in our mouths by attacking sweets that we ea t. Have your kids eat their candy with a meal. The saliva production from eating hearty foods helps decrease this acid attack and helps rinse away food particles so they don’t remain stuck on our teeth and cause decay.
2.) Brush, floss and rinse: Candy (especially sticky candy) can get stuck in between teeth and cause decay. Have your kids brush and floss right after having their candy/meal to minimize this. Make sure your child’s toothbrush is changed every 3 months and that their toothpaste is a Canadian Dental Association-approved fluoride toothpaste. Also, have them rinse their mouth with a glass of water to ensure they wash away any remaining sugars and acids.
3.) Avoid candy that stay in your mouth for a long time: The longer sugary foods remain in your mouth, the bigger risk for tooth decay. Have your kids avoid hard and sticky candy that will remain in their mouths for longer periods of time. Also, have kids alternate between sugar and sugar-free candies.
4.) Visit your SmileTown dentist regularly: Regular visits prevent oral problems from occurring and also allow dentists to catch problems early on enough so treatment is easier for the patient.
Oral health is something that must be maintained all year round, starting from the birth of your child, and prevention is key. Tooth decay is the most common disease experienced by children. Some studies indicate that nearly half of all children under age six develop cavities. Decay can begin as soon as the first baby teeth erupt (usually at 5–9 months).
By following a few simple guidelines, you can significantly decrease the possibility of cavities in your young child.
Pre-natal prevention: The best time to defeat cavities in children is before they are even born. Remember that your health, especially your oral health, directly affects your baby. Expectant mothers should: – Brush and floss every day – Chew gum with xylitol (it can reduce the bacteria that causes cavities)
Prevention in infants: – Avoid sugary drinks, such as juice, soda and sports drinks – Wipe baby’s gums and teeth after feedings and before sleep to discourage the growth of bacteria in the mouth
Help your child brush – Supervise your child’s brushing by letting them go first and then following up to make sure they haven’t missed any hard to reach areas. – Make sure your child brushes before bedtime
Decay: What to look for – The first sign of decay is a white spot (often at the gum line on the upper front teeth) – Brown spots indicate more advanced decay
At SmileTown Dentistry, we are happy to review good eating habits with you at your child’s appointment. Our goal is to educate parents so they can implement strategies in their home to keep their children healthy and cavity free!
We wish you all a safe and Happy Halloween from the SmileTown Dentistry team!