As children decide what they’re going to dress up as for Halloween, parents are looking for ways to protect their teeth from all the candy and sweets they collect. In addition to Halloween, October is also National Orthodontic Health Month, so Great Expressions Dental Centers (GEDC) is providing parents simple ways to help protect braces, retainers/aligners and keep teeth safe from decay.
“Kids love Halloween, especially because of all the candy and treats,” said Dr. Sindy Goodman, National Orthodontic Director for Great Expressions Dental Centers. “As parents, we want to make sure our kids enjoy trick-or-treating but that they take care of their teeth as well.”
Following are some important tips to help your children maintain optimal dental health while still enjoying the best part of Halloween – the candy:
· Avoid sticky, chewy, hard candy. Candy such as caramel, taffy, bubble gum (sugarless or not), jelly beans, etc. pose a threat to braces, retainers and fillings. They can easily break, dislodge or stick to dental work, as well as break teeth. But don’t despair, Halloween can still be enjoyed! When your child does eat candy they should try to stick to soft chocolates (example: peanut butter cups) or chocolates that melt in your mouth. You should also try to avoid nuts, popcorn and chips. If you’re chewing gum, be sure it is xylitol-based gums and mints from Altoids, Carefree, Trident or Orbit.
· Wait to brush? The bacteria in your mouth has already began the process of producing acid, which softens the enamel. Brushing at this time could cause erosion. Wait about thirty minutes for the pH in your mouth to return to normal, then brush and floss.
· Limit snacking. Bacteria are created by the acid in sugary and starchy foods that slowly destroys teeth enamel, which leads to tooth decay. If you have braces or not, parents should limit their children’s snacking on candy. Don’t eat all your Halloween candy in one sitting. This gives your mouth time to recover from the increased acidity.
· Mouth sores. Kids who fall asleep with hard candy in their mouth is hazardous enough due to a choking risk, but they also can develop mouth sores. Concentrated sugars in hard candies can erode the lining of the mouth and tongue causing mouth sores.
· Orthodontic evaluation. Orthodontics is more than just straightening teeth. Children grow quickly and orthodontists are trained to detect problems with the growth and development of the teeth and jaws. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic evaluation by seven years old. Regular visits with your general practice dentist are also recommended.
GEDC is a leader in orthodontics offering superior orthodontic care and results for patients in the shortest time possible. Starting this November, GEDC will offer Invisalign® in all of their offices located in nine states. Invisalign is a compliment, not a replacement, to traditional braces. This new service, great for adults and teens, will be offered at $4,995, which is a lower rate than most dental offices.
To find a GEDC location near you, visit www.greatexpressions.com.