Going To The Dentist Is Not As Scary As Halloween And It Can Be Much More Frightening If You Do Not Go
By: Dr. Gary Buzbee
It is the time of the year when we think of Goblins and Ghosts and Ghouls and Witches and Monsters and such. Adults and kids alike think about the myriad of Halloween candies and treats lurking in the neighborhoods.
Plans will be made by both children and parents for – How, When and the Quantity of treats to be consumed. Will there be a free for all and let the kids eat as much as they want in a designated time? Will the treats be “spread out” over a few days or even weeks? Many a parent will peruse the haul and perhaps “glean” a treat or two for themselves. Some enterprising Moms will no doubt stash a few Snickers in the freezer for a cold February.
This tsunami of candy will no doubt unleash monsters in young and old alike that up until now have been lying dormant. The rapid influx of sugar, feed the decay and bring to life those pesky cavities. That sticky caramel or Tootsie Roll Junior can pull off a crown or unseat a bridge in the “older” Trick or Treaters.
So what to do in case of an ill-fated Halloween dental malfunction?
Swallow your pride and one more candy corn and call your dentist. The dentist is your friend. There will be no judgment, just compassionate care to guide you back to dental health. If you are super lucky you might get some facts presented to you about Halloween candy, the perils of sugar and a smarter way to consume them:
90 Million: Pounds of chocolate Americans buy during the week of Halloween.
35 Million: Pounds of candy corn made for Halloween.
3,500 to 7,000: Calories worth of candy an average child collects on Halloween night.
20 Minutes: How long an acid attack on teeth lasts after consuming sugar.
41: Percent of children (ages 2-11) who have had cavities in their teeth.
38.5: Days an average American will spend brushing their teeth over a lifetime. The number should be closer to 60.
After consuming your treats, try to use a mouth rinse to remove as much sugar and sticky residue as possible. While mouth rinses that contain fluoride are ideal, even swishing plain water around your mouth can help when no other option is available. Chew a sugar-free gum after eating sweets to help clean your teeth. The gum will increase the production of saliva, aiding in removing any sugar coating the teeth.
The key to preventing cavities after eating sugary foods is simply to prevent the mouth from remaining coated in the acid-forming sugars and other carbohydrates found in sweets after eating.
Going to the dentist is not as scary as Halloween and can be much more frightening if you do not go. Ask your dentist to tell you of all the technological advances that have been made in dentistry to make your experience more pleasant. Share your concerns and fears with your dental provider; do not be frightened to ask questions. Most importantly, get any issues brought on by Halloween taken care of. Remember, Thanksgiving and Christmas are lurking around the corner.