PLANTATION, Fla.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Halloween is a scary season for teeth. Americans are expected to spend $2.6 billion on candy for the holiday this year. Sugary, sticky treats are among the leading causes of dental decay, so it’s no surprise that October is also National Dental Hygiene Month.
The American Dental Hygienists Association stresses that regular check-ups and cleanings along with at-home care can prevent virtually all dental problems.
To help keep teeth and gums healthy while still enjoying Halloween festivities, follow these tips:
Avoid sticky and acidic candy: hard or sour candy and gummies cling to the teeth and provide a steady source of fuel for the oral bacteria that cause dental decay. Acidic candy, such as citrus-flavored items, can weaken tooth enamel. And chewy candies can also crack or break teeth. Skip the candy corn and caramel apples—plain chocolate is actually among the best sweet treats.
Wait before brushing: teeth that have been exposed to acidic foods or drinks, or a sugar overload, need a little time to toughen up before being brushed. Rinse gently with plain water right afterwards, and wait an hour to brush.
Chew gum: The American Dental Association suggests chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals and/or snacks can help prevent decay by increasing saliva flow that neutralizes oral acidity levels and washing away food that is clinging to teeth.
Time treats: have a treat with a meal instead of consuming candy between meals. Saliva flow increases during meals, helping to rinse food particles from teeth and avoid tooth decay. And snacking all day on “fun size” candy bars continuously fuels oral bacteria.
Keep it clean: control plaque by brushing thoroughly twice a day plus daily flossing, along with regular professional cleanings.
During a cleaning, the dental hygienist examines the patient’s mouth for cavities and evidence of gum disease, which can lead to bigger problems down the line. The hygienist can develop a plan to manage or treat any issues early on by removing plaque (a biofilm that contains bacteria) and calculus (tartar) from both above and below the gum line.
“Since medical research is increasingly finding connections between oral health and medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis and dementia, preventative dental care is critical to maintaining overall health,” said Bill Chase, senior vice-president of marketing at DentalPlans.com.
“And with regular preventative checkups and cleanings, and instilling good oral health practices at home, you’re much less likely to need costly treatments intended to salvage or replace decaying, weak teeth,” added Chase.
Dental insurance typically covers the full cost of checkups and cleanings. But those who don’t have insurance can rely on a dental savings plan to make regular preventive care affordable.
Dental savings plans are an affordable alternative to dental insurance. Plan members pay a low annual membership fee for access to an extensive network of participating dentists and dental specialists that provide discounts—typically 10%-60%—on dental care at the time of service.
Preventive care is included in dental savings plans, as well as treatments not typically covered by dental insurance such as dental implants and cosmetic services such as teeth whitening.
Find out more about dental savings plans on dentalplans.com, or by calling 844-779-1021.
DentalPlans.com, founded in 1999, is a leading dental and health savings online marketplace in the U.S., helping more than a million people to affordably access quality healthcare services. Our mission is to empower consumers with the tools, information, and services that they need to live happier, healthier lives. www.dentalplans.com.