Trick or Treat season is around the corner, and with it the greatest Halloween horror: tartar. Kids love candy, and you love their teeth. Here’s how to let kids have fun but keep their teeth safe from plaque and the even bigger monster, tartar.
What is Tartar anyway?
When plaque—a sticky residue of food and bacteria—is left to collect on and in between teeth and along the gum line, it can harden to a cement-like substance called tartar. A build-up of tartar can eventually lead to gum disease or even tooth loss. The bad news is that once tartar has formed, it can only be removed by a hygienist. Although more prevalent in older children and teenagers, tartar can still affect younger kids.
- Having regular dental check-ups (at least twice a year) and professional cleanings.
- Thorough brushing (for at least two minutes) twice a day, and flossing (at least once a day) around the gum line and in between teeth—places your brush may not reach.
- Limiting sugary or “sticky” snacks to meal times, since saliva from eating helps rinse off plaque acids. Rinsing with water or chewing a sugarless gum after meals can also help boost saliva and wash away acids.
- Not all candies are created equal. As a general rule, the longer your child needs to suck or chew on a candy, the worse it is for their teeth. Things like gummy bears, toffee, even dried fruit, create more acid that will linger on enamel.
- Sour candy has a high acid content, so your child should wait 20 minutes before brushing their teeth after eating a sour patch to avoid pushing the acid deeper into the teeth.
- And at Halloween, treats are not the only potential evil. Wearing mouthpieces such as vampire fangs for an extended period can irritate gums and lead to plaque build-up.
- Sealants can be a great tool to prevent plaque build-up and protect your child’s teeth against tartar.
The staff at Kids Dental Group want to keep your child’s teeth happy and healthy. Book an appointment at one of our three locations – Richmond Hill, Markham or Stouffville.