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Halloween is this Thursday. It's a time for children to fan out across their neighborhoods in the pursuit of one of the great childhood treasures: candy.

It's also a time of extra vigilance for parents concerned about the health of their children's teeth.

While it's fun for children, and parents, to partake in the Halloween candy ritual, it's important to think ahead to make sure the holiday doesn't result in long-term tooth damage.

The American Dental Association recommends several tips to maintain mouth health not only during the Halloween holiday, but also year-round.

Timing-Halloween candy and other sweet foods should be enjoyed soon after

mealtime, when saliva production is high, to help cancel acids produced by mouth bacteria and to rinse away foods.

Choose candy for kids carefully-Hard candy and others that stay in your mouth for long periods of time should be avoided, as the length of time sugary foods remain in the mouth contributes to and increases the risk of tooth decay.

No candy snacks-It's one thing to enjoy a piece of candy, but another to snack on sugary candy throughout the day. Not only is it detrimental to your dental health, it's bad for your physical health overall.

Avoid gummies and sticky candy-It takes your saliva longer to wash away sticky candies such as gummies or taffy, increasing the risk for tooth decay.

Plan for the holiday's end-Halloween candy can remain in a household for months following the holiday, with Christmas and all of its sweet treats coming right on its heels. The ADA recommends children choose their favorite candies and then donate what remains. Operation Gratitude, for example, helps you donate leftover candy to overseas


Brush at least twice per day, and floss regularly-This is good advice for all times of the year. Brush your teeth for two minutes twice per day with an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste, remembering to replace your toothbrush every four months or sooner if the bristles are frayed. Flossing once per day helps combat bacteria between the teeth where toothbrushes can't reach. Flossing helps remove food particles from between teeth and under the gum line.

Columbia River Dental.

230 Columbia Blvd, St. Helens, OR 97501

(503) 397-0080

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