Tips and Tricks for Halloween Treats

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Halloween is right around the corner and excitement mounts as children and adults prepare to dress in their favorite costumes. Children walk from house to house in the cold, Alaskan weather in hopes of filling their bags full of sweet, 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 prevent tooth decay during this time of year.

Unless the sweets are sugar-free, they increase the risk of tooth decay. The American Dental Association recommends avoiding hard candy that stays in the mouth for long periods of time. Sour and gummy candy are also very sticky and acidic. Dark chocolate would be the best candy option because it washes off the teeth easier and contains less sugar than milk chocolate.

The best way to eat these Halloween sweets is to accompany them with a meal or shortly after mealtime. The production of saliva increases during these times, which helps to balance out the acid that attacks teeth. You should also have a plan for the excess candy that may be lying around the house.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry reminds patients to practice good oral hygiene all year-round. Parents should help their young children with brushing and flossing as they may not have the ability to effectively do so on their own. Children under the age of three are recommended to use a smear or grain size amount of fluoridated toothpaste, while older children can use a pea sized amount. Flossing daily is the only sure way to remove 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 sugar free-gum are also helpful tips to fight holiday tooth decay.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!