Scare Away Cavities After Indulging In Halloween Treats This Fall Season

By: Gen Wright

The month of October, especially Halloween, provides numerous opportunities for children and those young at heart to indulge in all kinds of sugary treats and snacks. Plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that accumulates on the teeth, thrives on sugars that are commonly found in candy, sweets and everyday foods. It is a major contributor to tooth decay as well. Fortunately, dentists have several recommendations for children and adults during the Halloween season to help prevent the dental "tricks" of this Halloween's celebrations.

What are Cavities?

Cavities are holes or structural damage in the teeth. It is also another way to describe tooth decay. Though common in children, adults are at a high risk of getting cavities as well if proper dental hygiene is not followed.

Types of Cavities Include:

* Coronal Cavities - This is the most common type of cavity, occurring both in children and adults. Coronal cavities are usually located on chewing surfaces or between the teeth.
* Root Cavities - as you age, your gums recede, leaving parts of the tooth root exposed. These exposed roots are easily prone to decay.
* Recurrent Decay - decay can form around existing fillings and crowns because the areas may have a tendency to accumulate plaque.

Adults are especially at risk for cavities if they suffer from dry mouth, which is a condition, created by the lack of saliva. Dry mouth may be caused by illness, medications, radiation therapy and chemo therapy, and may be either temporary or permanent, depending on the cause.

When you eat foods that contain carbohydrates, they are eaten by the bacteria in plaque, producing acids that eat into the tooth. Over time, the tooth enamel begins to break down beneath the surface while the surface remains intact. When enough of the surface enamel is eaten away, the surface collapses, forming a cavity.

Keep Your Teeth and Have Your Candy Too

This Halloween it is not necessary to avoid candy all-together. However, it is important to follow a few simple guidelines to help keep your teeth and your child's teeth free of cavities. Throw away all hard candies. Hard candies are most likely to promote tooth decay because they remain in the mouth for an extended period of time. They can also potentially chip a tooth and cause children to choke, so avoid hard candies at all costs.

Encourage your children to not eat their candy until after Halloween. This will give parents a chance to inspect and sort through the treats that your children receive while trick-or-treating. Sticky candies can also damage teeth and dental work such as fillings and dental bridges. They can also damage orthodontic appliances, such as dental braces and retainers. To enjoy Halloween fun, while keeping your teeth healthy and establishing a foundation of a lifetime of oral health, it is also recommended to:

* Be the tooth-healthy house on the block - Pass out alternative treats to ghouls and goblins such as cracker snack-packs, trail mix packs, rice crispy treats, etc.
* Monitor candy consumption - only allow Halloween treats in moderation.
* Take the fear out of flossing - Teach children flossing techniques for improved oral health at Halloween.
* Make tooth brushing fun - Seasonal tooth brushes featuring Halloween themes get children excited about taking care of their tiny teeth.
* Don't be afraid of the dentist - with all of the sweet treats consumed around Halloween, now is a great time for parents to schedule a pediatric dental appointment for their children.

Remember to maintain a proper diet, as it is essential for good oral health. When and how often you consume sugary, sweet foods and beverages affects both your general health and the health of your teeth and gums. Talk to your dentist in Bolingbrook for more information about the effects of diet and nutrition on your oral health.

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Sean Hartmen is the author for Dr. Rani Seeth of Bolingbrook Dental Care, an experienced dentist in Bolingbrook. Providing the most quality care, Dr. Seeth offers implant restoration, veneers, bonding, crowns, teeth whitening and school checkups in Bolingbrook for patients of every age.

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