With Halloween here and the rest of the holidays to look forward to, many parents are wondering how to protect their children’s teeth. At Kidz Connextion in Phoenix, we share their concerns, but parents may have some mistaken ideas about where the risk for tooth decay actually comes from. We wanted to correct it and provide some ideas for keeping the holidays fun without risking toothaches.
Both simple sugars and starches can fuel acid-producing bacterial growth if they are left on the teeth for too long. But while candies that are high in sugar are unhealthy, the length of exposure to sugar makes more of a difference to the teeth than the amount of sugar. For this reason, sticky candies that get stuck in hard-to-reach places are an obvious risk, as are hard candies that have to be sucked on for a long time. But sugary drinks such as apple cider and hot chocolate can also create a risk if their residue is not washed away, as can soft cookies and seasonal starchy foods such as winter squash.
Regular brushing and flossing will combat tooth decay, but in between meals, children can also dislodge food by chewing sugar-free gum. If they only eat candy at meals, they will be inclined to eat less of it and their mouths will be producing more saliva, which will wash away the sugary residue. Regular sips of water also help to clean out the mouth, so it’s a good idea to have water containers on hand during festivities.
Kidz Connextion Dental Care maintains offices around Phoenix. To find out more, visit our website at Kidz Connextion.