October is here! We all love the cooler fall days, and who isn’t excited for Halloween? However, as dentists we know that our Halloween treats are also high in sugar, which means a higher risk of tooth decay in smiles both young and old. While we want everyone to enjoy their Halloween candies, we also want you and your family to take steps to protect your smiles from the onset of tooth decay. In today’s blog, your Dallas, TX, dentist will explain how we protect smiles from cavities, and the steps you can take at home to keep your family’s smiles safe.
The Link Between Sugar and Poor Oral Health
When we consume foods and beverages with a high amount of sugar, then particles often become stuck on or between your teeth. Bacteria then break down these particles for fuel, a process that then elevates the levels of oral acidity in your mouth. Along with higher acidy levels, the teeth become coated in a sticky bacterial byproduct known as plaque. The buildup, combined with higher acidity, means tooth enamel could weaken, becoming demineralized and eventually, eroding. The erosion exposes the sensitive inner layers of dentin, leading to tooth decay and unless treated, a dental infection. If you attend regular checkup and cleaning every six months, we can remove buildup and diagnose cavities in the earliest stages, treating them before tooth sensitivity or toothaches develop, and before painful infections occur.
Candies to Watch Out For
Gummy candies and items with ingredients like caramel are especially harmful for your smile, as they tend to become stuck on the teeth. While milk chocolate contains sugar, it is easier to remove and doesn’t cling with quite the same tenacity. Be sure to limit how many chewy candies you consume! Also, we would like to remind you that sugary beverages, including sodas, fruit juices, and sports drinks could also increase your cavity risk.
Tips for Safety Consuming Your Treats
Now, if your children do have a holiday haul, there are ways to help them consume them safely. For example, urge them to reserve candy for just after a major meal, like dinner, and encourage them to only have one to two pieces. Have them follow the sweets with a glass of water to help cleanse the smile, and make sure they brush their teeth of two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste before bed, and that they floss in between the teeth, too. Limiting how much they eat, and taking proper care of the smile, which includes brushing twice daily for two minutes and flossing before bed, is essential for keeping smiles strong, whole, and free of tooth decay.
Try Offering Alternatives
If your neighborhood is still trick or treating, then consider handing out fun alternatives that don’t put smiles at risk! For example, you could pass out bags of nuts and trail mix, stickers, or spooky party favors, such as toy spiders or skeletons. You still partake in neighborhood Halloween fun, without putting smiles in your community at risk of developing harmful cavities!
Schedule a Post-Halloween Visit
If you have haven’t scheduled a six-month visit for you or your children recently, then consider doing so now or after the holiday. A checkup and cleaning allows our team to examine the smile for signs of common issues like tooth decay, and if we find a cavity, offer treatment. For kids, we can halt the rate of decay if caught early enough using Silver Diamine Fluoride. If the cavity is more severe, then we may place a one-visit filling. Created using composite resin, a metal-free material, the filling will look natural and blend with the tooth. We can also offer preventive treatments for your kids to lower the risk of decay, including fluoride treatments and dental sealants. Fluoride helps strengthen the outer enamel to prevent demineralization, and dental sealants are especially helpful as they prevent food from becoming stuck between the difficult-to-reach rear molars. If you’re concerned about contracting COVID-19, we understand. Fortunately, our team has made major changes to our protocols and have also implemented advanced technology to thoroughly clean and disinfect the air and surfaces throughout the office multiple times a day. Not to mention, we will be wearing PPE (masks, face shields, gloves, and gowns) and will require patients to wear masks and receive a special hydrogen peroxide rinse prior to treatment.
Remember Our Candy Buy Back!
There is one other fail-safe way to limit candy: bribery. Basically, let your kids know that they can bring their haul to our office, and we buy it from them for a dollar a pound! We then donate the candy to Operation Gratitude, providing the sweets to soldiers overseas. You could also offer to buy candy from your kids, or let them trade their sweets for a toy or video game. This way, losing their treats doesn’t feel like a punishment, and you help reduce the risk of your kids developing cavities, especially since Thanksgiving and Christmas, two other holidays that encourage indulging in sweets, are around the corner. If you have any questions about protecting little smiles from cavities, or if you would like to schedule a checkup and cleaning appointment for your little ones, or if you want details on our Candy Buy Back program, simply give us a call today! We have locations in Dallas and Richardson, and we’re ready to see your family.
Schedule a Halloween Visit With Your Dallas, TX, Dentist
Lack of proper oral hygiene, combined with lots of sugary treats, is a recipe for painful cavity and related complications, including infections or tooth loss. However, with the right steps at home and regular visits to the office, you can enjoy strong smiles, even during the sugar-inundated holidays. For more information on our approach to preventive dentistry, 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). As we approach the holiday season, we want to make sure you and your family enjoy healthy smiles!