By Dr. John Paul, FDA Editor
One of my favorite patients was preparing for the holidays and since Halloween was yesterday, she called with a serious question. “My grandchildren got a bunch of candy trick-or-treating last night. What candy can they eat that will be good for their teeth?”
I said, “Now Mrs. Gruntbuns, there is no candy that anyone should have unlimited access to. No candy is good for your teeth, but what’s the point of having teeth if you don’t get to eat things that you enjoy?
“So, let the kids, young and old, enjoy the bounty they collected on All Hallows’ Eve — in moderation — but clean their teeth regularly. Clean both the parts they can see and in between where you have to make an effort to reach.
“Your teeth are supposed to last your whole life so until your dying day, far in the future, you can eat something you enjoy.”
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Halloween is coming up soon, which for many children (and adults) means celebrating the holiday with candy and other sweet treats. While it’s fun to enjoy the holiday, parents should be mindful that sugary foods can increase the risk of tooth decay, which is the most common chronic disease for children and adolescents.
When you eat or drink foods containing sugars, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack tooth enamel, and over time this can cause tooth decay, the breakdown of tooth enamel and lead to cavities.
The good news is that you can let your children enjoy the holiday and teach them good oral health habits that they can benefit from during any holiday season.
So, before you take your kids to Halloween parties or trick-or-treating, download these five tips to keep their teeth healthy.
And of course, continue to practice ongoing oral health care, including flossing daily, brushing teeth twice a day and visiting your Florida Dental Association member dentist regularly. To find your FDA member dentist, visit learn.floridadental.org/find-your-dentist/.
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