October 18, 2017
It won’t be long until ghouls, goblins, and zombies are once again roaming our streets in search of … candy!
As parents, we understand how much joy trick-or-treating on Halloween brings to children. As dental professionals, we also understand this can increase their risk for tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.
We don’t want to ruin the fun of this holiday for your family, but we do hope you will take a moment to read through our tips to help your family keep smiling for years to come.
That includes scheduling visits to the Dental Care Center of South Kansas City, MO, for dental cleanings and exams. If you have not already made your next appointment, contact us online or call (816) 399-5539.
Talk To Your Kids Before You Collect Candy
You know that your kids come home with more candy than they can eat. That won’t stop them from trying to do so if you let them. It also won’t stop you from being tempted to have some of that candy for yourself.
Just like a sports team prepares for its next game, you and your kids can discuss your game plan for dealing with all the candy before you put on your costumes. You might be surprised how reasonable your kids can be if you include them in the decision.
Some things to talk about:
▶ Setting Limits
This can work two ways. First, talk about how much candy is reasonable to eat in a day. (As much as “none” would be a great answer, we don’t think that’s a realistic expectation for most kids.)
Talk to your kids about the sugar in candy. While that makes candy taste delicious, it’s also what feeds bacteria, which cause cavities. The more candy they eat, the more sugar particles can get caught in their teeth, and that’s exactly what the bacteria need to feed.
Second, decide how much candy you are going to keep. Like we noted above, most kids come home with enough candy to feed two or three families, so it’s OK to get rid of some (or most) candy so you aren’t tempted to eat all of it.
▶ Share Candy With Other People
If your kids know that their extra candy will be going to other people who will appreciate it, then they may have an easier time getting rid much if it.
If you look online, you can find several places that will accept candy as donations. Here are a couple suggestions you may want to consider.
Some Ronald McDonald Houses will accept donations of unopened candy for families with children who are not able to go trick-or-treating. Now, if you decide this is something you want to do, we encourage you to first contact the location where your family wants to donate to make sure they accept candy.
Many people also donated candy to Operation Gratitude, which sends care packages to military members who are serving overseas away from their families.
These are just two possible ways your family can help yourselves while putting a smile on someone else’s face at the same time.
What To Do When You Do Eat Some Of That Candy
There’s no denying that part of the fun of trick-or-treating is getting to eat candy. At the same time, what kind of candy you eat and when you eat it can make a difference.
Lots of kids love gummy candies — bear, worms, you name it. The problem with snacks like gummies and caramels is that they are sticky. That means they are more likely to stick to teeth and between teeth.
This makes them harder to remove from teeth as well. And the longer sugar stays on your teeth, the more likely it will become food for bacteria.
Sour candies can cause problems too because of acids that can harm the enamel of your teeth. If you eat sour or sticky candies, limit how many you eat at one time.
Milk chocolates and pretzels are a better option. These aren’t nearly as sticky as the things mentioned above, and they don’t contain acids that can harm teeth in other ways.
Dark chocolate is an even better option since it also contains antioxidants that can protect teeth against harmful bacteria. Dark chocolate still has sugar, and it can still cause cavities. It’s just not as bad as milk chocolate.
When you do eat candy, we recommend eating it after a meal since your mouth has already been making saliva. Drinking water also helps since this to can rinse away food particles before they get stuck in your smile.
And Come Visit Us
Call (816) 399-5539 to set up your next dental cleaning at Dental Care Center of South Kansas City. While we are keeping your smile healthy, you can tell us about all the fun things you did this Halloween. We look forward to seeing your smiles and hearing your spooky stories!