Oral Hygiene Tips to Combat the Halloween Sweet Tooth

 In Family Dentistry

What’s the scariest holiday for dentists?  Halloween! While this is an exciting time of year filled with costumes, haunting tales and spooky fun, it’s also a holiday that’s centered around lots and lots of candy that can wreak havoc on your oral hygiene.  Fortunately, there are ways you can combat this sugary sweet time of year, and avoid sitting in the dentist’s chair for unnecessary fillings. You just have to be smart about your approach to oral care during this tempting time.  Here’s how:

Portion – As with anything, it’s important to set limits, especially when it comes to eating Halloween sweets.  Try not to make a habit of treating yourself all throughout the day, and don’t sit and binge. Instead, only have a sweet during specific times, like right after a meal.  This way, you’ll (hopefully) already be planning to brush your teeth shortly after. Another way to ensure and enforce candy limits is to ask your child to pick out a few of their favorites that they can snack on over just a few days, rather than over an extended period of time (which far too many of us try to do), and have them donate the rest of their trick-or-treating haul.     

Be Picky – It may come as a surprise to some, but not all candy is created equal.  Some candies and sweets are in fact “better” for you than others when it comes to your oral and overall health.  So, if you’re planning to indulge a little this season, try to rid your collection of the worst offenders that can do the most damage and linger longer.  These include hard candies and sticky treats, like taffy and caramels.

Remember to Brush – Sure, this tip may seem pretty obvious, but it’s important to consciously make the effort to take breaks and prioritize brushing after you pop a few sweet treats.  But, do take a moment to pause before you or your child go rushing off to the bathroom. It’s actually better to wait a bit, at least 30 minutes, because certain acidic foods can actually damage your teeth.  This can happen if you eat something that softens your enamel. So, you don’t want to take a toothbrush right to your teeth while they’re still sensitive. This is also why you’re going to want to make extra sure to drink more water to help rinse away the sugar after eating.    

Be Cautious with Costume Makeup – Though candy may be the biggest offender when it comes to bad oral hygiene habits around Halloween, another often ignored offender is that of Halloween makeup.  Some people really go all out with their looks, and apply makeup to their teeth for added affect or put in play or false teeth. But, you have to be careful about what you put on your teeth and in your mouth.  You should only ever use cosmetics that are specifically designed for use in the mouth. Don’t pay attention to those DIY tutorials you may find online; only use safe, dentist-approved products. If you have any questions at all about the safety of a product and its effects on your oral wellness, talk to your dentist.   

Don’t let cavities be the scariest thing you face this Halloween.  Simply keep these tips in mind as you celebrate and indulge in the season, and your smile will remain healthy and bright for many holidays to come!

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