Trick or treat or cavities

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --

Halloween is fast approaching and excitement mounts as children prepare to dress in their favorite ghost, ghoul, or goblin costumes. Children will walk door-to-door in the cold, Alaskan weather in hopes of getting a bucket full of free, sugary candy.

While candy can be sweet and delicious, cavities, at any age, are not. There are some simple tricks to help children and adults alike, prevent tooth decay during the holidays.

The American Dental Association recommends avoiding candy that is particularly sticky or stays in the mouth for long periods of time. Unless the sweets are sugar-free, they increase the risk of tooth decay. The best time to eat Halloween candy is with a meal or shortly after mealtime.

During those times, saliva production increases, which helps to balance out the acid that attacks teeth. The ADA also points out the importance of having a plan for the excess candy that may be lying around the house, because it can be easy to unintentionally consume the sugary snacks.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry reminds patients to practice good oral hygiene all year-round. Parents should assist their young children with brushing their teeth as they may not have the ability to effectively brush on their own. It is recommended for children under the age of three to use a smear or grain size amount of fluoridated toothpaste, while older children can use a pea sized amount.

Flossing daily is also important to good oral health, as it removes bacteria and food debris between the teeth. Drinking more fluoridated water, choosing a healthy diet, refraining from beverages with high amounts of sugar and chewing sugarless gum are also helpful tips to fight holiday tooth decay.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!