During October, grocery store aisles are lined with candy corn, festive cookies, frosted cupcakes, and every type of candy under the sun. Thanks to all the gooey goodness, it’s only appropriate that October is National Dental Hygiene Month!
Types of Candy
Let’s talk Halloween candy—what’s okay, and what you may want to skip on buying this year. Don’t let treats play tricks on your mouth!
You may be surprised to learn that chocolate is one of the best options for your teeth. This is good news, considering it’s one of the most popular sweets to hand out on Halloween! Unlike other candies, chocolate rinses off of teeth easily and poses less of a threat to the enamel. This is especially true with dark chocolate, which has considerably less amount of sugar than milk chocolate.
If the candy is sticky, be picky! Sticky candy is some of the worse candy you can eat for your dental hygiene because it attaches on top and in between your teeth and is harder to remove. The longer sugary substances stay on your teeth, the higher your chances are of cavity-causing bacteria wreaking havoc.
Hard candy may be the most dangerous because of its ability to break teeth, especially baby teeth. Hard candies also tend to be more of a choking hazard since they’re not easily broken down. When hard candies stay in your mouth for a long period of time, the sugar in your saliva continuously washes over your teeth, something you want to try to avoid.
The main issue with sour candy is the acidity. Acidity can damage the hard outer shell of the teeth by weakening it. Once that outer shell is compromised, you’re more susceptible to cavities.
Halloween only comes once a year, after all, so indulge and enjoy—just be mindful! November 1 is National Brush Day, a reminder to start fresh with your dental hygiene routine.
Poor dental hygiene can cause cavities, gum disease, dry mouth, tooth decay, and even mental health issues. And according to a study published on NCBI, 60-90 percent of school-age children have at least one cavity, as well as almost 100 percent of adults. The CDC reports that almost 50 percent of adults over 30 have some form of gum disease.
Your family can help combat these health issues by regularly visiting the dentist, and following the BFR routine daily:
Brush: Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums, brush back and forth in small strokes for two full minutes. You should brush twice and day, and don’t forget your tongue!
Floss: Using a floss pick or about 18 inches of floss held in between your thumb and forefingers, guide it between each tooth in a C shape. Never snap the floss into your gums.
Rinse: Finish your routine with an oral rinse to kill any leftover bacteria by gargling for 30-60 seconds. Mouthwash containing fluoride helps to strengthen teeth and fight cavities.
Teach Them Young
If you’re a parent, you know that sometimes it’s like pulling teeth—no pun intended—to get your child ready for bed. However hard it may be, instilling the importance of dental hygiene at a young age will help them establish a lasting routine. With dental issues being one of the most common health problems among adults, it’s imperative we teach children how to care for their oral health properly.
Here are five ways parents can help improve children’s dental hygiene:
- Demonstrate the proper way to brush and floss with your children.
- Purchase a fun, new toothbrush to encourage use—their favorite color, character-themed, or one that plays music.
- Create a bathroom “Brush, Floss, Rinse” chart and offer a reward at the end of the week for accomplishing each task every day.
- Schedule a dentist appointment if it’s been a while since you or your children last visited.
- Try to limit their sugar intake this Halloween by monitoring their candy and sticking to chocolate, if possible.
We hope you and your family have a safe, spooktacular Halloween!
For any dental or oral boo-boos such as a busted lip, knocked out teeth, sliced gums, etc., our amazing team is here to help. We are ready to assist you with any type of medical emergency, 24/7, 365 days a year. We are dedicated to giving our patients the most effective and efficient treatment in a comfortable environment.