Halloween is around the corner, which for most children means bags of free candy and a chance to build a stockpile of sweets for the winter. No surprise, Halloween can also present parents with a variety of health and safety challenges. Here’s how you can help your family stay mouth healthy on Halloween and year-round.

Time It Right

Eat Halloween candy (and other sugary foods) with meals or shortly after mealtime. Salvia production increases during meals. This helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and rinse away food particles.

Stay Away from Sweet Snacks

Snacking can increase your risk of cavities, and it’s double the trouble if you keep grabbing sugary treats from the candy bowl. 

Choose Candy Carefully

Avoid hard candy and other sweets that stay in your mouth for a long time. Aside from how often your snack, the length of time sugary food is in your mouth plays a role in tooth decay. Unless it is a sugar-free product, candies that stay in the mouth for a long period of time subject teeth to an increased risk for tooth decay.

Avoid Sticky Situations

Sticky candies cling to your teeth. The stickier candies, like taffy and gummy bears, take longer to get washed away by saliva, increasing the risk for tooth decay.

Have a Plan

It’s tempting to keep that candy around, but your teeth will thank you if you limit your stash. Have your family pick their favorites and donate the rest. Dr. Horton has been collecting sweet treats for our troops for five consecutive years, so you can donate directly to our office! 

Drink More Water

Drinking fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay. If you choose bottled water, look for kinds that are fluoridated.

Brush Twice a Day and Clean Between Your Teeth

Brush twice a day for two minutes with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste. Floss your teeth once a day. Decay causing bacteria get between teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line. Regular visits to your dentist can help prevent problems from occurring and catch those that do occur early.