It is the time of year when many kids look forward to filling up bags or pillowcases with candy from the neighbors' houses. Halloween is upon us, and though some parents worry about their children's dental care, a dentist from North Carolina suggested that there is no need to fret as long as your child has decent dental habits.
"Cavities happen and develop over time. Halloween is not to blame,'' said Judith Messura, D.M.D., a dentist at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. "It's lack of good daily oral hygiene and chronic poor dietary choices that lead to dental cavities."
She said that there are basic beneficial habits that people should adhere to when teaching their children about proper dental care. The American Dental Association's recommendation that you should brush twice a day for two minutes at a time is crucial, as well as the notion that you should rinse your mouth out with water after eating if you know you will not be able to brush for some time. According to Messura, this is because food is broken down to sugars that combine with oral bacteria to produce acids that can trigger cavities and gum disease.
1. Watch out for 'sticky' foods
Sticky foods, like raisins, gummies and candy corn, are more likely to get lodged in the "pits and fissures" of teeth compared to chocolate bars. According to New York Daily News, the longer a food sticks to your teeth, the longer bacteria can feed on it.
2. Know the natural acid neutralizers
Foods like string cheese and sugarless gum can increase the production of saliva. This can help rinse away or counterbalance the acids in the mouth. Perhaps you will want to provide these less-desirable treats along with traditional candy.
3. Limit the extra treat eating
Extra treats should be limited, and ideally they can be allowed once a day. It is customary for people to have a treat after a meal, but Messura stressed that candy should not be lingered over too long. It is prudent to eat sweets more quickly so the time the teeth are exposed to sugar and acids is kept to a minimum.
4. Make sure your child is keeping up with dentist appointments
The best way to make sure that your child is keeping up with his or her oral care health is to ensure that all the dental appointments are up to date. Patients that have no dental insurance can look into other options, like discount dental plans.
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