Thursday, October 16, 2008

Halloween--the dentists' holiday!

What an amazing holiday. We keep a giant bowl of candy in the house for about a week, and then distribute more candy in a night than anyone should eat in a year. The worst thing you can do for your teeth is eat candy all through the day, or worse, right before you go to bed. And not to sound like a mom, but you need to brush your teeth after you eat candy. Sort of ruins the taste, I know.

But here's the problem: the bacteria in your mouth love sugar. The devour it like a ten year old devours candy, and then the bacteria secrete acid which causes the teeth to decay, first as cavities, more typically in children, and then also as gum disease in adults.

So what do you do? Some simple rules:
1. Have specific times when you or your kids eat candy, and limit the quantity.
2. Brush soon after, or at least rinse with water.
3. Avoid the stickier, gummier candies. They adhere to the teeth and provide a much more sustained sugar supply to the plaque bacteria.
4. Don't let your kids have a "stash" of their new booty. If they see it, or know it's there, they'll eat a lot more of it. This goes for adults too. Probably even more.

A friend of mine gives out candy and toothbrushes at the same time on Halloween. Don't try just toothbrushes or you'll get a trick for sure!

If your kids have eaten a lot of candy around this holiday, make sure they see a dentist soon after. The best time to treat a cavity is early on, when it has done little damage to the enamel.
If they don't like to go to the dentist, find one with a better chairside manner. The right dentist can be the authority figure with your children (taking you out of that role for at least one thing!) and at the same time help your kids learn to appreciate good oral hygiene.

1 comment:

Chelsi said...

You should add, brush your teeth before eating candy as well. Sugar actually sticks to plaque wich can cause more decay than if you don't brush your teeth after eating candy. How ya been Fred?

Chelsi McFadden, R.D.A