Trick-or-treating is the highlight of Halloween for most children, but excessive candy consumption can be harmful to a child’s dental and physical heath. Halloween doesn’t have to be a sugar-laden free-for-all. There are many ways to limit your child’s sugar intake without a making a scary scene.
- Collect Less Candy – Limit the amount of candy your child collects by having her use a smaller treat bag and calling it quits once the bag is filled. You can also set a time limit on her trick-or-treating or visit only houses within a certain walking distance.
- Trade Candy For Cash – Many dentists participate in a candy buyback program. If yours doesn’t, consider forking out some of your own cash in exchange for your kid’s candy, then donate the stash to a local shelter or a branch of the military.
- Plan a Visit From the Candy Fairy – If your child is too young to be interested in cash, consider swapping the loot for a toy they have had their eye on. Instruct your child to leave the goodies in a special location, and make the trade while they are asleep.
- Ration the Goodies – Let your child pick out a few of his favorites on Halloween night, then store the rest out of sight and out of reach. Pack one small piece in his or her lunch each day, or save it to dole out only on special occasions.
- Pass Out An Alternate Treat – You can do your part to limit junk food in your neighborhood by passing out something other than candy. Stock up on stickers, glow sticks or another prize to give away, and encourage your neighbors to do the same.
However you choose to prevent sugar overload this holiday, be sure your child knows what to expect beforehand. Fill her up with a healthy dinner before she begins knocking on doors, and allow a little indulging before the night is over. Have a plan for the rest of the candy, and no matter how late your little ghoul is up, don’t send her to bed without brushing!
Brushing and flossing regularly can keep your teeth and gums healthy and your smile bright, but good oral hygiene benefits more than just your mouth. When you take care of your teeth and gums, you’re taking care of your whole body.
- Healthier Heart – Flossing keeps your gums healthy, but it can protect your heart as well. People with periodontal disease may have an increased risk of developing heart disease and may double their risk of experiencing a fatal heart attack. Gum disease can also lead to inflammation throughout the body, which is detrimental to your body and heart. On the other hand, healthy gums can contribute to a healthy heart.
- Healthier Pregnancy – Pregnancy can take a toll on a woman’s oral health, and starting off with healthy habits can protect you from the gum disease and increased cavities some pregnant women experience. Poor oral health may also increase your risk of delivering prematurely, so good oral hygiene is important for the health and safety of both you and your unborn baby.
- Improved Diabetes Management – If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important to know that you may be more prone to gum disease. You should also know that gum disease may affect your diabetes by increasing your insulin resistance. This two-way link between diabetes and gum disease makes it extremely important to maintain healthy oral care habits.
- Early Cancer Detection – Dentists are trained to detect early signs of oral cancer in the gums, lips, tongue and cheeks, so a regular checkup can alert you to a potential problem while it is still in the early stages. Oral cancer can advance quickly, so early detection can be lifesaving.
- Weight Management – Brushing can signal to your brain that you are finished eating, preventing you from snacking once a meal is complete. Brush and floss about 30 minutes after meals to keep your teeth and gums healthy, but also to prevent overeating and mindless snacking between meals.
Dentists recommend that you brush and floss at least twice a day, and that you schedule a cleaning and checkup twice a year. By maintaining good oral hygiene, you protect your teeth as well as your health.
Whether you’re looking to score a date with a special person or ace an interview you’ve been preparing for, one thing remains certain: you may not get as far as you would hope without a great smile. Here are several tips you can use to enjoy a brighter and whiter smile.
1. Stop Drinking Energy Drinks
Even if you live for the rush that energy drinks give you, they are not very good for your teeth. Their acidic content is very corrosive to the enamel on your teeth. If you cannot stop drinking them entirely, then start limiting your consumption of them. Make sure you use a straw when drinking them to keep your teeth from swimming in acid.
2. Avoid Dark Foods
Try to limit your consumption of dark foods and beverages. Dark foods and beverages have a staining effect on your teeth that can leave them discolored and dull looking. Of course, some foods, such as blueberries are very beneficial to your health (and also dark) so use your judgment when eating and drinking foods and beverages that contain dark pigmentation, and chew gum or brush teeth about 20 to 30 minutes after if you are concerned about the staining effects of what you consumed.
3. Eat Your Raw Fruits and Veggies
Eating raw fruits and veggies is not just good for your health, they are also good for your teeth. Raw foods, such as nuts, cauliflower, broccoli, and apples act as “scrubbers” when you chew them to help remove surface stains and plaque from your teeth. Crunchy veggies and nuts also help strengthen your teeth and bones for long-lasting teeth.
4. Change Your Toothbrush
Remember to replace your toothbrush every three to four months or as soon as you notice it looking worn out. After this amount of time, the bristles on your toothbrush start to lose their firmness and shape, thus reducing their effectiveness at cleaning your teeth.
5. Rinse Your Mouth
Rinse your mouth after eating and drinking sugary and acidic foods and beverages. Rinsing immediately after consumption helps to get rid of the acid that is left behind in your mouth. If you don’t, the acid that remains in your mouth will strip the enamel from your teeth making it easier for them to stain.
No matter what you do to keep your teeth clean, don’t forget to see your dentist as needed. Practicing good dental hygiene and receiving proper dental care will keep your smile bright and white.
The first Friday in October every year is designated World Smile Day, a holiday that was initiated by the inventor of the iconic yellow smiley face, commercial artist Harvey Ball. The Smile Foundation that was created in his memory strives to improve the world one smile at a time. Harvey Ball and the Smile Foundation know how important a single smile can be, but the many benefits of smiling may surprise you.
- Your smile can make you happy. Feeling happy can make you smile, but the reverse is true as well. Studies have shown that smiling, whether genuine or forced, can release endorphins that create an authentic feeling of happiness, so next time you’re upset or stressed, put a smile on your face and trick your brain into changing your mood!
- Your smile can make someone else happy. A smile is like a yawn – when you see one, you instinctively copy it, and the happiness circuits in your brain light up. The same goes for everyone else, so greet the world with a smile on your face and others will instinctively smile back, increasing happiness everywhere you go.
- Your smile can help you relax. When you smile, your brain releases chemicals that can fight off stress, relax your body and lower your heart rate and blood pressure. The chemicals released can also diminish feelings of pain and depression.
- Your smile can make you seem more attractive. Most people perceive someone with a pleasant expression as attractive and sincere. When you smile, you seem more approachable and more likeable. There’s no easier way to increase your appeal.
- Your smile can land you a job. A smile can also make you seem more reliable and trustworthy, traits that an interviewer may value. By making eye contact and smiling when greeting a potential employer, you signal that you are confident, pleasant and capable.
Whether you’re feeling down or looking to make a good impression, take a minute to remember a joke or a pleasant memory and let the thought bring a smile to your face. This World Smile Day, remember that a smile costs nothing, but benefits you and everyone you see.