The real danger this season is not the spooks and goblins, but the sugary treats they bring. Halloween ushers in the season of high sugar consumption as the winter holidays follow close on its heels. The season always ranks high in dentistry news because of the assault all the sugar brings to the teeth of children, making them at risk for the development of cavities.
So, what is the real danger of sugar anyway? Our mouths always have bacteria present in them, and when that bacteria comes in contact with sugar, they produce acids that can break down tooth enamel. After sugar is consumed, it can take up to 60 minutes for the saliva in the mouth to neutralize the acid. This means that teeth are under attack for almost an hour each time sugar is consumed. Break down of tooth enamel eventually causes the tooth decay that results in cavities.
You have probably heard of the campaign this holiday by dentists across the country offering to buy candy back from kids and donate it to soldier’s oversees. This is a good start, and makes great dentistry news, but cavity prevention begins at home, and NY dental professionals offer some tips to help protect your child’s teeth.
Since each exposure to sugar puts teeth at risk for up to an hour, do not let your child munch on candy throughout the day. When sugar is consumed continually, the mouth has no time to recover from the attack. If this takes place after the child has already started getting his permanent teeth, this can cause long term damage which could lead to serious dental issues later in life, including dental implants. NYC dentists recommend allowing your child to consume several pieces of candy in one setting versus spread throughout the day.
Another idea is to limit candy intake to around meal time. More saliva is flowing during a meal, allowing the mouth to neutralize acids more quickly. Make candy or dessert eating a special thing, reserved for a certain time of day following a meal. This will allow the mouth to recover quickly. It may also give mom a break from sugar-hyped kids all the time!Of course one of the biggest tooth decay fighters is proper brushing and flossing of teeth. Make sure that the busyness of the holidays does not cause a break in your child’s usual teeth brushing routine. This is a big factor in fighting tooth decay.
Finally, consider bringing your child in to see your dentist after the holidays. A quick check up will catch any tooth decay early, preventing major work later on. Follow these tips and keep the sugar goblins at bay this holiday season!