submitted by Dr. Michael Spadafora, D.D.S., Bucks County Dental Design
October is here and we are just beginning to enter the “season of candy”!
With Halloween and all the other holidays approaching, I thought it would be helpful to give some tips for fighting the sugar monster.
We all know that sugars eat away at the enamel of teeth. Children’s teeth are particularly sensitive to this erosion, and the subsequent decay in “baby” teeth can cause significant problems in the later “permanent” teeth.
Thus, we need to avoid sugar, or mitigate its negative effect, as much as possible.
As a parent, I know that keeping candy away from children is easier said than done. My advice to parents is to attempt to have some control over the Halloween candy and other sweets.
My first suggestion is to look in your child’s Halloween bag and dump the candies that are sticky or last long in the mouth.
The goal would be to have your child consume the candy quickly, with a chaser of water, and, when possible, follow with teeth brushing thirty minutes later. It is better for the child to have specific times to eat the candy rather than to consume it throughout the day.
Make sure that your child has had his dental check-up because tooth decay in children progresses quickly. This is due to the smaller amount of enamel on the baby teeth, as compared to adult teeth. An influx of sugar is “food” for the bacteria in the mouth that causes tooth decay.
Also, be sure that your child received a fluoride treatment. Most people in this area have fluoridated water. If you happen to live in an area without fluoridated water, talk to your dentist about a fluoride supplement.
Brush, brush, brush your children’s teeth! An adult should do the brushing until the child has the manual dexterity to brush thoroughly on his own (usually around 7-8 years of age). During “candy season” the evening brushing is particularly important so that the sugar is not hanging around in the mouth overnight.
I have wonderful memories of my three kids at Halloween, and, yes, they ate plenty of candy during the season. Use common sense and follow these tips.
The goal is to win the decay war, despite losing a few skirmishes!