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Let the Kiddos Enjoy Goblin up That Halloween Candy

Let the Kiddos Enjoy Goblin up That Halloween Candy

With Halloween right around the corner, children everywhere are gearing up for costume parties, trips to the pumpkin patch, hay rides, and, of course, candy! As far as kiddos are concerned, the treats are the best part of Halloween. For parents, though, who are well aware of the health issues associated with eating too much candy, the surplus of sweets can be a real fright. However, there’s no need to fear the tricks and treats that come along with Halloween. Well, at least not the treats part, and it’s all thanks to Jackson dentist, Emilee Milling, DMD. A board certified pediatric dentist and the owner of Milling Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Milling is no stranger to teaching parents and kiddos about good oral health habits, and luckily, she provided us with some tips and tricks on combating the inevitable sugar invasion of October 31st.   

Parents & Kids: What would you say is a healthy oral hygiene routine for kids?

Dr. Milling: Good oral health starts at home! The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends brushing your child’s teeth in the morning after breakfast and before bed with a soft bristled toothbrush using fluoridated toothpaste. When the teeth on either side begin to touch, it is important to start flossing to prevent cavities from forming between the teeth. The AAPD recommends flossing once a day, but even a few times a week can help.  

P&K: How do you explain the importance of good oral hygiene to younger patients?

Dr. Milling: Keep it simple! I tell children it is important to brush away all the bad things on our teeth to keep the cavity bugs from forming holes in our teeth.

P&K: Halloween is synonymous with indulgence. As far as oral health goes, is it okay for kids to have some extra candy on the 31st?

Dr. Milling: There is nothing wrong with a little indulgence every now and then. When it comes to our dental health, the frequency of eating and drinking sweets is more important than the amount of sugar. Eat candy on Halloween. Enjoy it! Dental cavities are more likely to develop when we eat and drink sweets multiple times throughout a day on a regular basis. Dental cavities are less likely to form when we stick to healthy eating and drinking most days with indulgences as a special occasion.

P&K: In the “chocolate vs. sticky” debate, it’s often said that chocolates are less harmful to teeth than sticky candy – is this true, and if so, why?

Dr. Milling: Chocolate candy is considered to be less harmful to teeth than sticky candy. Sticky candy is more difficult for saliva to rinse away, therefore, it sits in the nooks and crannies of our teeth for a longer period, making it more likely for a cavity to form

P&K: Any suggestions for dispersing candy? For instance, what’s an appropriate portion size?

Dr. Milling: Candy should always be considered a treat and not a part of a regular diet. As far as bodily health goes, candy has no nutritional benefit for us, but it is not realistic for children to cut sugar out completely. It is everywhere: birthday parties, holidays, rewards for good behavior, etc.  Serving sizes for candy varies because the sugar content in candy varies as well. For my children, I try to limit them to two fun size packages of candy.  

P&K: Will pairing candy with water or other foods help to dissipate sugar?

Dr. Milling: Brushing your children’s teeth after eating candy is ideal, but brushing is not always an option if you are not at home. Follow eating candy by drinking water. Water can help rinse the candy residue from teeth so it will not sit for a prolonged period of time.  

P&K: Do you have any other dental tips, Halloween-related or otherwise, for parents and/or kids?

Dr. Milling: Remember that the frequency of eating candy is more of a problem for teeth than if they eat a large quantity at one time. Gummy and hard candies are worse for teeth than chocolate candy. Brush and floss their teeth that night, and let it be the last thing you do before bedtime.  Halloween is fun! Let your child eat candy on Halloween.

Dr. Milling’s practice, Milling Pediatric Dentistry, is located at 1855 Crane Ridge Drive, Suite B in Jackson and can be reached at (601) 982-8585. For more information, visit the Milling Pediatric Dentistry website at: www.millingpediatricdentistry.com

By: Daniella DiRienzo

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