Halloween is only a Snickers bar away. For most children, this means gobs of Gobstompers to keep them sugared up till the spring thaw. But for parents, October 31 means a grab bag of health and safety challenges.
On the candy front, the American Dental Association has suggestions for parents so kids can maintain good oral health in spite of Halloween holiday, and throughout the year.
Halloween candy and other sugary foods should be consumed with meals. ?Saliva production increases during meals. It helps neutralize acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and helps rinse away food particles.
Avoid hard candy and other sweets that stay in your mouth for a long time.? The length of time food is in your mouth plays a role in tooth decay. Unless they're sugar-free, candies that stay in the mouth for a long time subject teeth to prolonged acid attack, increasing the risk for tooth decay.
Avoid sticky candies that cling to your teeth.? This category, like taffy and gummy bears, take longer to get washed away by saliva and increase the risk for tooth decay.
Drink more water. ?Consuming fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay. If you choose bottled water, check the label for the fluoride content.
Maintain a healthy diet and make sure you eat nutritious meals.? Your body is a complex machine and the foods you choose as fuel and how often you "fill up" affect your general health, including your teeth and gums.
Avoid beverages with added sugar such as soda, sports drinks or flavored water.? The risk of tooth decay is increased.
Chew gum with the ADA Seal. ?Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals has been shown to reduce tooth decay, because increased saliva flow helps wash out food and neutralize the acid produced by dental plaque bacteria.
Brush your teeth twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste. ?Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won't do a good job of cleaning your teeth.
Clean between teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner. ?Decay-causing bacteria still linger between teeth where toothbrush bristles can't reach. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.
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