In All the Revelry, Don't Forget Your Teeth
October 8, 2018
Dr. Katherine Nicholson
The calendar has flipped to October and the South Carolina humidity has (finally) started to release its grip on us. Football season is in full bloom, and soon people will be flocking to the mountains to enjoy autumn’s colors. Indeed, this is the beginning of a GREAT time to be outside. But it is also the beginning of a potentially damaging time for your children’s dental hygiene.
The fall and early winter months include one holiday after another that usually feature sweets as a central part of the celebration. Of course, Halloween takes the cake (or candy) in that respect. But many people keep bowls or jars of candy and sweets out on the coffee table or their desk at work through the entire holiday season. And we all know how M&Ms and Hershey’s Kisses in those Christmas colors can be hard to resist!
What About Sealants?
Factor in how this time of year — from trick-or-treating and classroom parties to family gatherings and trips — messes up normal schedules and routines, and you have the potential for good habits to be cast aside and replaced by bad ones. Of course, you and your children should absolutely enjoy the holidays, and that includes indulging in all the great food and sweets that are unique to this time of year. But, as with everything, it’s important to try to keep things in balance.
Here are some things to remember and some tips for preserving your children’s dental hygiene over the next few months:
Chocolate candy is the best candy
Really! This isn’t just a subjective preference. Chocolate candy is easier on your teeth, is easier to wash off your teeth, and doesn’t linger on your teeth like other types of candy.
Limit (or avoid) sticky, sour, and hard candies
Sticky, sour and hard candies can be highly acidic, which can damage the outer layer of teeth and make them more susceptible to decay. And when candy sticks to your teeth or remains in your mouth longer (like hard candies do), that acid has more time to do its damage. Meanwhile, biting on hard candies can also cause actual damage to teeth, while sticky and chewy candies can wreak havoc on fillings.
Eat sweets at the right time
Sweets and sugary foods are best consumed with meals or right after mealtime. The increased saliva production during meals helps to reduce the acids produced by sugar in your mouth.
Avoid all-day access to snacks
I know many people who really get into the season and decorate their houses for every holiday put out bowls and jars of holiday candy — chocolates, peppermint, snack-size candy bars, you name it —on what seems like every end table and countertop. It certainly adds to the overall fun and feel of the season, but it is terrible for both your diet and your teeth. Constant snacking on sugar and sweets throughout the course of the day, for days on end, means constant sugar and acids in your mouth. I suggest if this is something you like to do, try to limit it to just times when you have company over or on the actual holiday.
Reinforce good habits
Above all, brush at least twice daily and floss. Flossing is especially useful when you’re eating those holiday
popcorn balls and other sweets that get stuck in between your teeth. Keep one of those small sizes of floss in your pocket and use it when you hit the restroom at a gathering. Keep extra toothbrushes and toothpaste in your travel bags. And stay on top of your kids even more than you usually do about brushing before bedtime.
What about sealants?
This is also a time of year when I get a lot of questions from parents about sealants for their children. Brushing and flossing are your best bet to prevent tooth decay, but, especially for children, sealants have proven to be very effective at preventing cavities. This simple and painless procedure is one I highly recommend parents consider. If you would like more information about sealants, give us a call or use our contact form and we’ll be right back in touch.
The infographic below was originally posted on www.oralcaresolutions.com