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Keeping Your Child's Teeth Safe During Autumn

Mother and Child Handling a Toothbrush
The change of the season brings fall festivals, Halloween parties, and trick-or-treating. Even though these events are filled with family fun, they also make keeping your child's dental health in check a challenge. As fall gets into full swing, take a look at the top dental traps of the season and how you can combat them with ease.

Candy Apples

Whether apples are covered in a candy-red glaze or drenched in caramel, the fall festival version of this typically healthy fruit won't do wonders for your teeth. Along with bathing your child's teeth in sugar, these treats can easily pull out fillings or cause other dental damage (such as chips or cracks).
What can you do to help your child avoid the oral issues that candy and caramel apples can create? If  your child absolutely must eat a candy apple, ask them to brush and floss immediately after. They should go slowly, making sure that they reach every area of the mouth, including the backs of the teeth, where sticky candy debris may hide. An interdental brush can also help to remove floss-resistant debris from in-between the teeth.

Halloween Treats

Dietary sugars are a primary cause of dental caries. Sticky sweets, such as caramel or gummy candies, are challenging to remove from teeth. This makes it easy for bacteria to breed on the sugars that the candy covering leaves behind.
The worst candies, in terms of cavity formation, are those that are sticky, gummy, and coated in extra sugar. These candies are hard to remove and provide your mouth's bacteria with a direct source of food. Along with these types of candies, hard candies can also easily stick to teeth. Beyond that, hard candies have a similar problem as candy/caramel apples and can crack teeth or pull out fillings.
The bacteria in the mouth feeds on the sugar, multiplying and leaving behind an acid that eats away at the enamel. Even though a no-candy diet is the best option, some candies leave behind less of a dental mess than others. Chocolate (plain chocolate, and not the kinds that have chewy caramel, toffee or other fillings inside) is a better option for your child's dental health. It melts quickly, meaning that it's easier to wash away.
Another way to reduce the ill-effects of Halloween candy is to have your child eat it with (but not as) a meal. Eating meals increases saliva production. Having a piece of candy as dessert, immediately following lunch or dinner, gives your child's natural saliva the chance to wash away some of the cavity-causing debris.

Trick-or-Treat Trips

Fall dental follies don't only revolve around food. An awkward costume paired with a dark night-time walk is a recipe for an accident. Trick-or-treat slips and trips can easily result in a cracked or chipped tooth.
Avoid Halloween night accidents by wearing an appropriately fitting costume. If your child is walking outside in the dark, stay away from heavy masks or masks that obscure your child's vision.
Accidents happen — even if you try everything in your power to prevent them. If your child does trip and fall, chipping a tooth, call the dentist immediately. A completely broken tooth or a tooth that's been knocked out requires replacement. If you can find the tooth, or the tooth remnant, save it. Keep the tooth moist, placing it in an emergency tooth preservation kit or a cup of milk.
A dental visit following Halloween (or any other heavy candy-eating time) can help your child to have a healthier mouth. Contact Eastland Dental Center & Professional Dental Care for more information or an autumn appointment.