Halloween is the time of year for ghosts and goblins….and the day after for toothaches and sugar crashes. Parents know all too well that kids never obey the “just one piece tonight” rule when they’ve got a whole pile of trick r’ treats in front of them, and all that sugar leads to rotten teeth and cavities galore. Enter Jesus Medina Jr., DDS, Las Vegas’ premier general dentist, specializing in cleanings and preventative treatment.
The week after Halloween, dentists are flooded with appointments as the succulent sweets of the holiday turn into cavities and gingivitis. Dental emergencies become fairly common following sweet-laden holidays such as Halloween, but Dr. Medina offers four tips for how to keep your children out of the dentist’s chair this year:
1. Get out of a sticky situation- keep your kids away from taffy, lollipops, caramel, and gummy candies. These take much longer to chew and swallow, and the more time spent in contact with teeth, the more time sugar has to wear down enamel and do real damage. Sort your kids’ candy, to take out these sticky gummer-uppers, and save your children the toothache this Halloween.
2. Go sugar free. Sugar free gum and other candies are a valid substitute for the sweet stuff, and much healthier both for your diet and on your teeth. No sugar means no tooth decay, which can help keep your kids smiling and pain-free. In fact, low-calorie sweeteners like Xylitol and Sorbitol, both found in sugar-free gums and candies, can be beneficial to oral health, starving the destructive bacteria that cause gingivitis and helping to restore the whitening minerals in your teeth naturally.
3. Always in moderation, don’t overdo it on candy, or let your kids stuff themselves full. Tummy aches from a sugar overdose are a short-term result of a Halloween night “well spent,” but long term tooth decay, gingivitis, and sore gums can become a real problem following a candy binge. While kids may not always obey the usual “okay, you can each have one piece before bed” rule, parents would be wise to limit access to candy. Store the Halloween haul in a cookie jar atop the fridge, or in a hard-to-reach cabinet, and offer up a piece as desert following dinner, or as a reward for getting homework done, to ensure that while your children get to enjoy their trick-or-treating treasures, they don’t overdo it.
4. Balance out the healthy and unhealthy. Kids may not want to eat their veggies, but a healthy meal to balance out unhealthy sugar and snacks is essential not only to basic diet, but dental health as well. Limit kids to one piece of candy after dinner or as a snack, and make sure they brush and floss thoroughly after.
A dental check-up is just what the doctor ordered for many families just after Halloween. Make sure you and your children aren’t one of them by following these easy steps to avoid cavities and tooth decay. If you’re still worried about the potential damage from sugary snacks, schedule an appointment with Jesus Medina Jr., DDS this month before the holiday, and make sure your costume is spookier than your smile. Call (702)368-3627 today to schedule an appointment.
Dr. Medina is a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). Advanced General Dentistry, with a practice in Las Vegas Nevada since 1988. He offers general and family dentistry, with a specialization in cosmetic and restorative dental services.