October is officially upon us – and do you know what that means? Halloween is right around the corner! For most families, this means a night of trick-or-treating around the neighborhood and returning home with bags of free candy. Although dressing up in costumes and knocking door to door is fun for the whole family, the sugar-filled holiday can leave a lasting mark on everyone’s smiles if you’re not careful. Your dentist in Columbia shares a few oral health tips to keep in mind this Halloween.
Choose Your Treats Carefully
Most people know that candy isn’t the best food for your smile. However, it may surprise you to learn that some are far more damaging than others. While sorting through your stockpile of Halloween treats, make sure you only keep the ones that are least harmful to your teeth. Discard any sticky, acidic, and chewy candies – they increase the period of time in which teeth are exposed to sugar. And the more time candy has in your mouth, the higher your risk is for tooth decay.
Eat Candy With (Or Shortly After) Meals
Did you know that saliva production increases during meals? It helps neutralize acids in your mouth and wash away excess food particles. Therefore, if you must indulge in Halloween candy, it’s best to do so with meals or shortly after mealtime.
Have a Plan to Limit Sugar Intake
Your family might want to keep all the candy around, but it’s a good idea to have a plan in place to limit the stash. For example, everyone can choose a select number of their favorite treats and donate the rest to an organization. Some (like Operation Gratitude) give the donated candy to troops overseas. Another option you have is to see if your dentist has a candy take-back program.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Even when it’s not Halloween, you must eat a well-balanced diet full of foods that meet all your nutritional needs. That way, you’ll “fill up” and feel less tempted to reach in your bag of candy for a sweet treat. Also, healthy foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, calcium-fortified dairy products, and whole grains can benefit your oral and overall health.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Before your family calls it a night, make sure no one goes to bed without following their oral hygiene routine. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily are crucial practices for maintaining good oral health – especially on Halloween night. They help eliminate harmful bacteria, plaque, food particles, and other debris from the mouth. Don’t forget to use toothpaste that contains fluoride! It’s an essential mineral that can dramatically reduce the damage caused by tooth decay.
Halloween is an exciting night, but don’t forget to prioritize your oral health amidst the fun. By following the tips outlined above, you can keep your smile happy and healthy this spooky season!
About the Practice
At Columbia Healthy Smiles, we go above and beyond to make every visit as comfortable, relaxing, and fulfilling as possible. Our team provides exceptional dental care that’s guaranteed to leave you smiling after every appointment. We enjoy educating our patients to help them make informed and confident decisions about their oral health. For more Halloween oral health tips, visit our website or call (573) 875-7071.