With Halloween fast approaching, North Texans are stocking up on candy to hand out to trick-or-treaters and parents are already worried about their kids gobbling too much sugar.
Dr. Paul Lawrence of McKinney Smiles Family and Cosmetic Dentistry is a parent too, so he understands the challenges that families face at Halloween – you want your kids to have fun but you don’t want them to overdo it. As a dentist, Dr. Lawrence has treated children with cavities caused by too much sugar and too little dental hygiene.
The good news, he says, is there are ways to sensibly approach Halloween so that everyone enjoys themselves – and avoids cavities.
Dr. Lawrence’s top five Halloween tips:
- Avoid sticky, extra-chewy candies, such as gummy bears, taffy, Starburst, Airheads, caramels and sugar-infused gum. “These types of candy not only stick to the teeth, but they stick between the teeth and can cause issues if you don’t properly brush and floss,” Dr. Lawrence says.
- Avoid hard candy, lollipops and treats that stay in your child’s mouth for a long time. “This type of candy bathes the teeth in sugar for an extended period,” Dr. Lawrence says.
- Limit Halloween candy and sugary foods so that your children are eating only a few treats – and always with a full meal that includes plenty of water to drink. “Eating a small amount of candy as dessert is important because saliva production increases when you eat a full meal, which helps neutralize acids and rinse away food particles,” Dr. Lawrence says. “Drink plenty of water with your meals, which also will help rinse food from your mouth.”
- Stock up on packets of gum with the American Dental Association (ADA) seal to hand out to trick-or-treaters. Or, hand out alternative treats, such as scary stickers, shiny pennies, mini temporary tattoos, ghostly backpack pulls, spider rings or colorful pencils.
- Take your child on your Halloween shopping trip to stock up on alternative treats and let them pick out a fun, new toothbrush and color-coordinated interdental cleaners. Children and adults should brush their teeth at least twice per day with an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste and then floss as well. Interdental cleaners are often easier for children to use than floss. Be sure to have an adult supervise the child’s tooth-brushing habits to be sure they’re brushing their molars along with their front teeth.
Dr. Lawrence says that a limited amount of candy is OK, as long as children know their family’s established ground rules for Halloween – they must eat their treats with a meal and brush well afterward.
Parents with concerns about their child’s teeth are welcome to contact McKinney Smiles to set up an appointment to see Dr. Lawrence. Call 972-542-8400 to find an appointment that’s convenient for you.
For nearly eight years, Dr. Lawrence has offered top-quality, comprehensive dental care for children and adults at McKinney Smiles, located at 2780 Virginia Parkway, Suite 201, in McKinney. A full screening of each patient’s oral health is among the first orders of business at McKinney Smiles.
Among McKinney Smiles’ services:
- comprehensive dental care for adults and children;
- preventive care;
- orthodontics, including clear aligner orthodontics;
- cosmetic dentistry;
- sedation dentistry;
- restorative care;
- one-visit root canals;
- and much more!