Keeping Teeth Healthy During Halloween
A Reminder from the Smile PA Program – Mobile Dentists
Halloween's just around the corner, and many children are looking forward to the annual ritual of trick or treating. While it is true that sticky sweets can cause cavities, many different types of food can cause tooth decay, not just candy. Foods high in carbohydrates, some fruits, liquids such as sugary fruit juices and carbonated soft drinks, peanut butter, crackers and potato chips are also culprits in causing tooth decay.
Causative factors of tooth decay include the frequency in which the foods are eaten and the time they remain as particles in the mouth. For example, sipping a sweet soft drink all day is more
harmful to the teeth than drinking a large soda all at once with a meal. Also contrary to belief, fruit juices are not better for the teeth because these can also contain high amounts of sugar. Surprisingly enough, chocolate milk has been endorsed by the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry as a "tooth safe" food. The calcium, phosphorus, and cocoa in chocolate milk may actually protect teeth from decay. Decay occurs when solid or liquid food particles cling to the teeth or gums for long periods of time. Bacteria in the mouth use the sugars from the foods as an energy source to produce acid that then attacks the teeth enamel. The acid first softens the teeth enamel, then it erodes the teeth leading to the formation of cavities.
Children in additional to having healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables, plain yogurt and cheese, can still eat their favorite foods but they should rinse their mouth with water after meals, (if brushing is not possible), drink plenty of fluoridated water, use a straw when drinking sweet drinks and get regular dental checkups, combined with brushing with a fluoride toothpaste.