In less than two weeks you and your family will likely be celebrating Halloween, which means dressing up in scary costumes, enjoying a spooky movie or two, and of course, trick or treating. While we love trick or treating too, as dental professionals we also understand how sugary treats can lead to tooth decay and other serious oral health problems. In order to help families enjoy this spooky holiday without putting smiles at risk, we offering our annual Halloween Buyback Program at our Richardson and Dallas, TX, offices on Tuesday, November 5th! After all, what could possibly be scarier than tooth decay?

Our Buyback Program

On Tuesday, November 5th you can stop by our Dallas office (1050 North Westmoreland, Suite 432B) and Richardson location (722 West Spring Valley Road) and take part in our annual Halloween Buyback program. We offer this every year, purchasing candy from kids for a dollar a pound. Your little one can then earn money for non-surgery treats, such as toys, and give their smile a respite from the deluge of sugar and starch. We then donate the candy to Operation Gratitude, which provides the sweets to our armed forces overseas. The program has proved very popular with our community, and we look forward to taking part every year. Remember, you not only help safeguard your child’s smile, but you also support a wonderful program that brings a little joy and relief to members of our armed forces!

Candy and Tooth Decay

How does candy lead to cavities? Well, when we consume candies and sweets, bits of chocolate, caramel, and sugar particles remain trapped on or between our teeth. Bacteria then consume these particles, breaking them down in a process that elevates oral acidity and coats the teeth in a sticky layer of plaque buildup. Brushing and flossing cannot remove plaque, and over time this bacteria byproduct can weaken outer enamel, causing the protective layer to erode and allowing bacteria to reach the more sensitive and porous inner dentin. A cavity then forms. Unless treated, the cavity grows in severity until bacteria finds the inner pulp, causing an infection to form and threatening the stability of the tooth. Children may report toothaches or tooth sensitivity. If this is the case, bring them in for an exam. We can often treat cavities in one sitting with a filling, or prevent early stage decay from growing worse by applying silver diamine fluoride to the teeth. At home, remember that brushing and flossing routinely helps prevent serious buildup and removes the food particles that bacteria enjoying consuming. Kids should brush when they wake up and again before bed for about two minutes per session. You can download a fun app, game, or podcast to make the process fun for children, there’s tons of them related specifically to brushing and flossing! Kids also need to floss before bed, just as adults do. We can always discuss the proper methods of brushing and flossing to help your kids enjoy better oral hygiene at home.

Healthy Candy Alternatives

If you’re handing out candy this year, make an effort to keep the holiday smile friendly! For example, instead of buying a bag of expensive candy, why not offer stickers, temporary tattoos, or little packages of crayons? You can also purchase healthy alternatives, such as packages of nuts or trail mix. While things like apples and fruit are healthy, remember that parents are unlikely to feel comfortable with their kids eating items that are not sealed in a package! Once your kids come home with their holiday haul, let them keep a few favorite pieces and they can sell us the rest. Try to limit how many they eat each day, and encourage them to follow up their sweets with a glass of water, which helps cleanse the smile. Remember, tooth decay may seem minor, but children could quickly develop an infection that could mean serious pain and even premature tooth loss, impacting how permanent teeth arrive and increasing the risk of misalignment as they enter their teen years, misalignment that will require orthodontic treatment! However, with a few changes to your routine and a new focus on oral hygiene, you and your family can keep your smiles strong and healthy following Halloween (and Thanksgiving and Christmas, the trifecta of sugar-related holidays).

Schedule a Visit!

We urge families to bring their kids in for a checkup and cleaning every six months, starting with the arrival of the first baby tooth. During these routine visits, we can often spot and address cavities in the earliest stages, before your child experiences aches or sensitivity. We can even halt the rate of decay with a simple application of silver diamine fluoride. While brushing and flossing cannot remove plaque that has already formed, our routine dental cleanings can remove all plaque and tartar (calcified plaque) from the surface of the teeth, so your children leave with healthier smiles, brighter teeth, and fresher breath. If you have any questions about our Halloween Buyback program,or if you would like to schedule preventive visits for your child now or following the holiday, then please give our office a call. We can see children of all ages, and look forward to helping them enjoy healthy and beautiful smiles for years to come!

Avoid the Terror of Cavities!

Dressing up and trick or treating is fun, but too many sweets is a recipe for aching teeth and dental disaster. In order to avoid these complications, smiles young and old need routine care and regular office visits. Fortunately, we’re here with checkups, cleanings, preventive treatments, such as fluoride treatments and dental sealants, and more to help smiles stay strong for years to come! For more information on our preventive treatments for the entire family, then please schedule a consultation by calling the Viva Dental Family Dentistry office nearest you at (214) 337-7800 (Dallas) or (972) 437-6000 (Richardson). We’re happy to serve families in the area, and help them enjoy optimal oral health and beautiful smiles.