Muah ha ha ha ha! It’s that evil time of year again. A time when oral bacteria feeds on all of the sugar we consume turning our otherwise happy mouths into scary fright zones of plaque-forming ghouls and gobblins.
Now, I always recommend patients completely avoid foods like candy and soda, and use caution when eating hard, crunchy or sticky foods because they can damage orthodontic appliances and braces, bend wires, require extra visits for repairs and even set back treatment time. However, I realize that kids are going to eat candy during and long after Halloween (and I know the adults are sneaking pieces out of the candy bowl too). Because we are kicking off this two-month holiday season with a candy fest, it makes it that much more important that we are all taking good care of our teeth and still trying to eat a healthy well-balanced diet.
So, all of you candy cravers and chocoholics, make sure you are brushing and flossing at least twice a day. When you indulge in a lot of sweets, try to brush right after doing so. If you don’t have a toothbrush readily available, rinse your mouth with water a few times. For those of you in treatment, avoid those sticky foods like caramel apples, fruit chews, and licorice – make sure you have extra wax on hand in case anything starts poking you.
As always, eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, especially raw veggies. If you are worried about crunchy fruits and veggies, slice them really thin or blend them into a delicious smoothie. Take a multi-vitamin everyday to ensure you get the Calcium and Vitamin D that you need to maintain strong, healthy teeth and bones. Eat some protein and fiber at every meal. That will keep you feeling fuller so you don’t turn right to the candy and sweets.
Parents,if you are having difficulties getting your child to brush his/her teeth, create an incentive calendar. For not missing any brushes during the week, reward him with a trip to the park or an hour playing video games. Make a schedule so that it becomes a healthy habit.
Remember, you only get one set of adult teeth, so take care of them, or you may end up looking like this guy: