Ghosts, goblins, vampires, and zombies. There’s a long list of things to frighten you at Halloween. As your dentist, we feel like we have to add another one: cavities. Starting about now and continuing through the end of the year, your family probably consumes more sweets than usual. So their risk of dental decay grows. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep cavities away.
If any of your family members are due for exams and cleanings, now is a good time to schedule them. In the meantime, check out your dentists’ advice:
- Hand Out Non-Candy Treats – If you want to dispense treats, consider fun items like stickers, erasers, bubbles, or bouncy balls. Both parents and kids will appreciate having some non-candy alternatives. They last longer than candy, so can provide more overall enjoyment. And your family won’t be tempted by the extra candy laying around.
- Choose Chocolate and Sugar-Free Gum – We understand if you want to stick to tradition and hand out candy. Sugar-free gum is a great choice, especially if it contains xylitol, a natural sweetener that helps deter decay. Chocolate is also a good option. Unlike some candies, it melts fast and rinses easily away from teeth. So it’s less likely to cause cavities. Fun-size bars are great for portion control.
- Give Some of Your Candy Away – If you have lots of leftover candy or your kids bring home tons of treats, consider taking some of the excess to your workplace or finding somewhere else to donate. Local food pantries or nursing homes are logical places to start. Keep the better choices like chocolate and donate treats that are especially bad for teeth, such as sour candies.
- Make a Deal With Your Kids – Has your child been saving up for something like an Xbox? Pay them for their overflow candy (again, focusing on harmful treats like sour candy). Then follow the suggestion above.
- Ration the Remaining Treats – Let your kids have a few pieces on Halloween, then put the remaining candy somewhere out of sight and dispense just a few pieces at a time. After a meal is a good time to do so. That’s because you have more saliva in your mouth right after a meal, which helps wash away cavity-causing bacteria.
- Use Candy for Other Purposes – You may also be able to convince your kids to lessen their candy consumption by baking it into cookies or other treats or even using it for crafts. You’ll find lots of recipes and ideas for crafts online. We like this suncatcher made from the kinds of sticky treats that are especially hard on teeth.
- Consider Preventive Dental Treatments – Fluoride and dental sealants are two preventive services that provide added protection against cavities. They are a great idea for kids and cavity-prone adults. According to CDC statistics, school-age children without sealants get three times as many cavities as their peers who have sealants.
Let us help you keep cavities away! Call Butte Family Dental at 406-565-4458 for an appointment in Butte, MT.