When we think of October, many of us think of Halloween… children dressing up in costumes, trick or treating, and, of course, the Halloween candy! But there is more to celebrate in October than just Halloween. It is also National Dental Hygiene Month! So to help you make it through Halloween with healthy teeth and good oral hygiene, here are our five favorite tips:

Sort Your Halloween Candy
When it comes to candy, certain types can be more damaging to teeth than others. Candies that are sticky or chewy tend to get stuck in the crevices of your teeth and cause cavities. Also, candies that stay in your mouth longer, such a lollipops, cause your teeth to be exposed to sugar for a longer period of time which can increase the likelihood of developing cavities. We recommend sorting out these types of candies from your Halloween stash and keeping only candy that is quicker to eat and lower in sugars, such as chocolates or sugar-free candy.

Make Candy a Treat
Children tend to consume more candy around Halloween because it is often lying around the house. Rather than leaving the candy out, we recommend storing it away and making it a treat. Candy can be used as a reward for completing chores, getting a good grade, or just having a great attitude that day.

Practice Good Dental Hygiene After Eating Candy
It is important to brush twice a day and floss daily to maintain good oral health. However, when your sugar intake increases, so should the frequency of your oral hygiene routine. Remember, if it’s sticky and sweet – the swifter the sweep! If it’s chocolate and smooth, you can delay your move. Brushing and flossing your teeth or even just rinsing your mouth after consuming candy can reduce your chances of developing cavities.

Donate Extra Candy
A great way to limit the amount of candy your child consumes is to donate some of it. There are many charities, dental offices, and organizations that take candy donations. We recommend sitting with your child to help them pick a few of their favorites and then donating the rest.

Consider Alternatives to Candy
Instead of handing out candy to those who visit your home, consider purchasing healthy snacks such as crackers or pretzels or other fun non-food treats like stickers, pencils, or yo-yos.

Dr. Kristina Chandler practices at Cheek Dental here in East Cobb. You may contact her at 770-993-3775 or visit www.cheekdental.com.

Cheek Dental would like to wish everyone a happy, safe, cavity-free Halloween!

This article was written by Dr. Kristina Chandler of Cheek Dental and originally appeared in the October issue of the EAST COBBER magazine, on page 9. Click here to view the digital edition.