2020 has been a hard year, and all of us need a break right now. Halloween comes as the perfect opportunity to let our hair down and enjoy the beginning of the holiday season. Get the dental tips from the experts!!
Of course, it doesn’t mean we throw caution to the wind during a global pandemic. We still need to follow the coronavirus guidelines of wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, maintaining at least a six feet distance from others, staying away from crowded places, and washing hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer.
You can still indulge in all the fun that accompanies the Halloween season – pumpkin carving, scavenger hunting, dressing up in Halloween costumes, and eating candy.
Talking of candy, that’s where the horror story for dentists begins. Halloween can spell disaster for the teeth, if the dental tips for this holiday are not followed. Eating candy occasionally and in moderation can do no serious harm. It’s the choice of candy, how many you eat, and how long it lasts in your mouth that determines the extent of damage on your teeth.
Let’s discuss in detail the preventive dental tips for Halloween to ensure you have many reasons to smile this holiday season.
1. Choose Treats Wisely
Halloween treats usually mean candy. You don’t have to be a killjoy and eliminate candy entirely from the party list.
Fortunately, not all candies are made alike, and you can still choose the healthiest options available on the menu.
Here is a lowdown of all the traditional candy options for Halloween and the best dental tips and picks for your teeth.
- Chocolate: When it comes to the best traditional Halloween candy, chocolate wins hands down. The fact that it is popular among children and adults works in its favor as well. Chocolate melts easily and doesn’t stick to your teeth or stay in your mouth long to cause tooth damage. The darker the chocolate, the better for your teeth. It also has a lesser sugar content than the milk version.
- Hard Candy: They harm your teeth, and can break it if you are not careful. Hard candy tends to stay in your mouth for a longer time, allowing the sugar to damage your teeth and gums. Unless it is a sugar-free product, try to avoid or limit this type of candy for Halloween.
- Sticky Candy: Candies like taffy and gummies are sticky and can spell bad news for your dental health. It clings to your teeth, stays longer in your mouth, and tough to remove, allowing enough time to damage your teeth and gums.
- Sour Candy: Though delicious, sour candy is highly acidic. The acid in sour candy can weaken and damage the teeth enamel putting it at higher risk for cavities. Be it hard or sticky form; sour candies are among the worst offenders of teeth and gums.
- Popcorn: Popcorn might seem like a harmless, healthy treat at the outset, but it can also potentially damage your teeth. The hard kernels can get stuck in-between your teeth, and the caramel version is sticky and sugary.
2. Tackle the Bacteria
It’s not the candy per se, which wreaks havoc on your teeth. It is the bacteria that develops in your mouth due to the high sugar content in candies. The bacteria feast on the sugar and leftover food in your mouth, leaving behind erosive acids that cause teeth decay, cavities, and gum diseases.
One effective solution and dental tip is to chew sugarless gum with the ADA seal for 20 minutes after your meal. Chewing gum increases the saliva in our mouth and helps in neutralizing the acid produced by the bacteria. You can add the sugarless gum in your bag of treats for the Halloween party instead of candy.
3. Have a Plan
Having a plan in action beforehand will help you enjoy the candy treats as well as keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Candy is not harmful when eaten in moderation. The best time to eat candy is along with meals or immediately after mealtime. Saliva production increases during meals and helps rinse away the sugar, food particles, and harmful acids.
Educate and emphasize the need for a balanced diet for your family. Eating candy and consuming sugary carbonated beverages does nothing good for your body, including your teeth and gums. They lead to tooth decay and gum diseases.
Drink fluoridated water to prevent tooth decay and wash down the harmful effects of sugary candies and beverages is a good idea. Keep sufficient stock of water in handy for your Halloween party. Opting for sugar-free candies and drinks for ‘trick or treat’ is a smart choice as well.
You can take control and set a limit on your family’s candy consumption by keeping a limited stock and donating the rest to other people and charitable organizations.
4. Maintain Dental Hygiene
While you may know the basics and benefits of daily dental hygiene, you need to amplify your cleaning routine during Halloween.
Here’s how you can do it!
Don’t rush. Curb the tendency to rush to the bathroom to brush your teeth immediately after eating the candies. Brushing after you eat acidic foods can further damage your teeth enamel when it’s hypersensitive. Instead, drink lots of water to rinse away the sugar and food bits in your mouth, and wait for at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth with an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste. You can also check with your dentist about the recommended toothpaste based on your teeth condition and type.
Take extra care of your teeth during Halloween. You can brush your teeth three times a day instead of the standard practice of 2 times a day and spend more time thoroughly brushing your teeth. Continue to floss once a day as it helps remove plaque and food bits from hard to reach places in your mouth.
5. Be Cautious about Halloween Costumes
This might sound bizarre, but your Halloween costume can indeed cause damage to your teeth.
The makeup, cosmetics, or accessories you use on your teeth to achieve a specific look, can harm your teeth. Check with your dentist before putting anything inside your mouth – fake teeth, prosthetics, or makeup. While they might not cause teeth cavities, the high lead content can be hazardous for your teeth.
Celebrating Halloween in times of the pandemic is a great idea. But, do follow the coronavirus guidelines, consult your dentist, and practice the above preventive dental care advice for a safe and fun-filled Halloween.
You can trust Blue Turtle Dental services in Palo Alto, CA, for expert dental care. We are enthusiastic about helping you and your children have a happy & safe Halloween.
To schedule a dental appointment before Halloween, call our dentists in Palo Alto, CA, now.