Utah Children’s Dental Network would like to take the time to wish all of our friends and family a happy holiday season! To better reflect the holiday spirit, we have assembled from helpful tips for preserving your child’s teeth while enjoying the holiday season. Together we can work to keep Utah’s children smiling bright and healthy!
Some Candies are Better Than Others
The main reason candy is bad for teeth is that it contains sugar. Most parents know that sugar equals cavities. Likewise, candies can also be acidic, which wears down tooth enamel. When enamel wears down, the tooth is more susceptible to damage. The worst types of candy are:
- Sticky Candies. These candies stick to teeth and increase the possibility of cavities.
- Hard Candies. Since they take longer to consume, it gives sugar more time to stick to teeth.
- Sour Candy. Sour candy contains high amounts of acid that increase the risk of damage to teeth.
Safer candy choices include dark chocolate, sugarless candy, and candy that easily dissolves.
Eating Sugar: Timing is Everything
Nobody should snack on candy throughout the day. Not only will it spoil your appetite, but it can also increase the chances for cavities to form. The best time to eat candy or sweets is immediately after eating a meal. As you eat, saliva production is increased in the mouth. This helps get rid of sugar-containing food particles. The kind of food you eat with your meal also makes a difference. Eating things such as fruits and vegetables can help wash down sugary sweets much more efficiently.
Sharing and Donating Candy
If your child has more candy or treats than they can eat, you should consider asking them to share with their classmates or donate candy. This puts a limit on how much they can consume, which ultimately helps protect their teeth in the long run. Donating candy can also help children see what it’s like to give to a good cause. Many organizations accept candy donations, including for soldiers overseas. There are also groups such as the Ronald McDonald House and much more. When you encourage your child to share or donate, they will learn to think of others while protecting their teeth.
Call the Dentist Right Away
If you suspect your child has a cavity from eating too many sugar-laden holiday treats, their teeth should be examined as soon as possible. Some signs of a cavity include:
- Toothache or sensitivity to sweets
- Pain when drinking or eating something hot or cold
- Stains on the surface of the tooth
If your child has a cavity, the sooner a dentist examines their teeth the better. Left untreated, a small cavity can turn into a larger one or even a second cavity. An untreated cavity could also lead to pain, an abscessed or infected tooth, damage to the tooth, or problems chewing. Severe cases of untreated cavities could result in tooth loss.