October Is Oral Health Month:Tips for Making a Tooth Friendly Halloween
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Did you know that 56% of U.S. children aged 6-8 have untreated cavities; gum disease affects 50% of kids. The longer teeth are exposed to sugar, the longer bacteria can feed on it, which could produce cavity-causing acid.”
Try these tips for a tooth-friendly meal:
•Choose cut-up fruit instead of candies and sweets
•Choose infused water instead of juice or sports drinks
•Crunchy veggies great for teeth! Choose veggies instead of chips & crackers
•Choose to add fruit to plain cereal instead of eating sugary cereal
•Brush teeth or at least rinse with water after eating sweets
***Children may need to be offered a new food as many as 10-15 times before they will eat it. Keep it up and keep trying new things!
>>>After trick-or-treating, Delta Dental of Illinois encourages parents to pay close attention to the types of treats children bring home to protect their teeth from sugar terror.
Knowing your neighbors are likely to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, Dr. Sheila Strock, Delta Dental of Illinois has ranked Halloween treats (from best to worst) that children – and parents, should they choose to dig into their kids’ stash themselves – can enjoy.
- Sugar-free gum. The best Halloween treat for kiddos is sugarless gum. Chewing gum produces saliva, which prevents the mouth from getting dry and helps rinse away food particles that may stick to teeth.
- Chocolate. Generally, dark and milk chocolate melt quickly and aren’t as harmful as other sugary candies. Watch out for candy bars with caramel or nougat fillings, which can hang around longer on teeth than chocolate itself.
- Candy corn and gummies. These cute candies can get stuck between teeth. Brushing and flossing soon after consuming these treats can keep bacteria from causing cavities.
- Caramel. Not only does caramel stick around on teeth for a while, it can also loosen dental fillings. No one wants to track down a dentist on Halloween!
- Lollipops and jawbreakers. Designed to be sucked on, these treats expose teeth to sugar for a prolonged amount of time. If bitten, jawbreakers can also cause major damage to teeth.
- Sour candies. The scariest thing on Halloween might not be a costume or a horror movie – it’s acidic, sugar-loaded candies like sours and tarts that wear down tooth enamel.
Like any celebration, Halloween should be a fun way to honor traditions – including snacking on candy. If you can’t resist avoiding some of the sweet treats listed above, here are tips to enjoy festivities while limiting the risk of tooth decay:
Eat a meal before trick-or-treating. Having a nourishing, healthy meal before heading out to collect candy will help kids be less tempted to dig into their sugary stash throughout the night.
Eat candy in small portions. Allow your children to have a few treats when they get home. A stomach ache from too much candy the morning after Halloween can be as spooky as any ghoul or monster.
Maintain a healthy routine. Make sure your kids brush and floss before they hit the hay on Halloween night.
Make this delicious no added sugar drink at home with your kids!
Materials: pitcher, water, cups, fruits and/or vegetables (ex: melon, cucumber, lemon, mint, basil, grapefruit, orange, lime)
- Cut the fruit and or vegetables into slices or cubes.
- Place the fruit and or vegetables into the pitcher of water and set aside for 15-20 minutes.
- Pour the infused water into cups and taste. Experiment with new combinations of fruits and vegetables for a delicious drink with no added sugar!