The season for gorging on sweets is upon us, and your kids are just as excited as mine about one thing: CANDY.
The abundance of sweets that come with Trick-or-Treating makes this a good time for a quick reminder of what happens in the few minutes following a treat : Sugar feeds oral bacteria. The bacteria release acid as a byproduct of digestion. The acid breaks down teeth and causes cavities.
While all these goodies can cause long-term damage to your kids’ teeth, there are a few simple tips that can help to keep their smiles as sweet as they are.
- 1. Limit the quantity. Plan with your child beforehand how much candy they will be allowed to have. Many dentists — including Bizeau Dental — have a buy back program that rewards your child for the candy they DON’T eat. Click here for more information on Bizeau Dental’s 2016 Candy Buy Back.
- 2. Pay attention to the type of candy. Sugar is bad news for teeth, period. But some types of candy are particularly harmful. As a rule, the longer the candy stays in the mouth, the worse it is. Hard candy, that takes a while to dissolve, keeps the sugar in contact with your teeth longer than something that can be swallowed quickly. Also, sticky or gummy candies get caught in the grooves of your teeth and increase the amount of time your teeth are exposed to sugar. Sour candy usually contains citric acid that causes further tooth damage in addition to the sugar.
- 3. Limit candy consumption to brief periods of indulgence. It takes your mouth about 20 minutes to neutralize after eating sugar. Grazing on sugary foods throughout the day causes your teeth to be constantly under attack. It is much less harmful to have a few minutes of an intense sugar attack, followed by a rinse with water — or toothbrush, if available — than it is to continually assault your teeth with a small amount of sugar every few minutes.
- 4. Keep you oral hygiene routine. Brushing twice a day, plus after sugary snacks, and flossing once a day is especially important in the trick-or-treat aftermath. Children should also rinse daily with a fluoride mouthwash, which helps to counteract damage done by sugar. Be sure to also get your regular dental check-ups to screen for problems while they are still small.