Halloween is here and so are “fun-size” treats. Treats loaded with sugar and other ingredients that can get stuck to the teeth and cause cavities. Whether you let your children have one piece of candy a day or let them have all they want for a day or two and take the rest, healthy teeth should be a priority.
Here are three tips for keeping your kids’ mouth and teeth healthy, even with all the candy from Halloween.
1. Reduce bacteria in the mouth. Since bacteria is what causes cavities and dental decay in the first place, it makes sense to try to keep it at bay. Bacteria feeds in acidic environments and it thrives on sugar… even natural sugar. So cutting back on these kinds of foods will help the mouth not to be such a prime environment for bacteria to reside. Another way to help with this is to sip on water or swish with water while you are eating, so food has less chance to stick to the teeth.
2. Keep teeth clean and plaque-free. Since bacteria stick to teeth via plaque, it makes sense to try to keep plaque off the teeth. The best way to do this is by brushing. It’s recommended that you and your kids brush twice a day, but after every meal is really ideal, as it will get leftover food out of the mouth and remove plaque from the teeth. Using a xylitol-based toothpaste adds extra protection, as it can help prevent cavity-causing bacteria from sticking to teeth. Don’t forget to floss, too! Food can get caught between tight spaces and brushing won’t be enough to dislodge it.
3. Supplement with calcium and vitamin D. It is best (especially for kids) to try and get these nutrients in their diets, but if their diet is lacking, supplementing is a good option. Studies have shown that calcium and vitamin D help prevent tooth decay.
Photo from here, with thanks.