"Since I was a child, I loved Halloween, but hated the cavities that would be discovered at my following check-up," says Alan Zweig, D.D.S., a dentist for more than 25 years. "If only my parents knew what we know now, and had taught me the importance of preventing cavities, I know that I would not have feared the dentist after I ate too many sweets!"
Here are Zweig's tips for protecting kids' teeth from an overabundance of treats:
- Feed them cheese. It's high in calcium and re-mineralizes areas of early tooth decay. It also buffers acids produced by oral bacteria, protecting teeth.
- Give them a healthy meal before trick-or-treating, so they'll have less room for candy.
- Have them drink water after eating sweets to help rinse sugar away from the teeth.
- Offer sugarless gum to keep saliva flowing and help rinse the teeth if they can't brush or floss after eating treats.
- Ask your dentist whether a prescription fluoride toothpaste is right for your child. It has a higher concentration of fluoride than over-the-counter brands.
- Set up a candy "bank" and offer a limited amount at a time. Freeze chocolates and candy bars, and store the rest in a sealed container.
- Make sure kids brush regularly to protect against cavities.
- Christina Elston
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