Post-Halloween advice: Brush twice a day

Posted: Friday, November 07, 2008

A few area trick or treat revelers might be calling their dentists this week about a couple tender spots revealed over the Halloween weekend.

Most dental offices however, don't see much of an increase in business after the sugary holiday.

"A weekend full of eating candy won't give you sugar bugs overnight," said Tasha Reynolds, a dental assistant at Peninsula Dental in Soldotna. "You can have candy, just brush your teeth twice a day."

Reynolds said that the most frequent post-Halloween dental visitors aren't the little goblins and ghouls who did much of the Halloween harvesting. They're more likely to see long-armed phantoms who might raid their children's stash or leftover goodies not given away during the evening.

Soft gooey candies are notorious for plucking off crowns, the most common reason for anyone to visit the office for some post-Halloween repair.

Otherwise, the treats aren't likely to have much of an effect, at least right after the holiday.

Carmen Stephl, a dental hygienist at Family Dentistry in Soldotna, said a short binge of Halloween sweets is actually not all that bad.

"Halloween night's not so bad, it's what's left over," she said.

Both Stephl and Reynolds recommended avoiding slowly picking away at the goodies through out the day.

Sticky candies, or candies that are made up almost entirely of sugar in particular, are the worst. The acid in the sweets will adhere to teeth all day long if not brushed away. Keeping the bag of candy around all week could mean a visit to the dentist in the coming weeks.

"Put that bag away, don't leave it in your kid's room," Stephl said.

After consuming any candy it's best to brush. If a toothbrush isn't available, Stephl recommended eating something like an apple. She also said if eating candy, it's best to have a healthy meal beforehand.

Stephl pointed out that it's also ok to give out alternatives on Halloween evening.

"I do give out candy, I give one piece, but I also give out toothbrushes," she said.

Her neighborhood trick-or-treaters have come to remember her house for that, and she said the kids like the Halloween-themed brushes. Though it's not typically recommended to give out homemade sweets anymore, pencils, pens or inexpensive gifts are still acceptable as well, she said.

Dante Petri can be reached at dante.petri@peninsulaclarion.com



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