Planning and Preparing for Dental Procedures: Your Questions Answered

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Planning and Preparing for Dental Procedures: Your Questions Answered

Making decisions about your smile can be confusing. Should you have a tooth pulled or get a root canal? Should you get adult braces or stick with a retainer? Should you use at-home whitening remedies or have your teeth professionally whitened? If questions like these are keeping you up at night, you've come to the right place. I used to stress out over routine dental procedures, and as a result, I did loads of research on everything dental-related. To help others, I'm using this blog as a place to collect, review and share what I've learned through the years. I hope you can use the information here to help you plan and prepare for your next dental appointment.

Halloween Isn't Far Away: Get Ready, Get Set, Get Good Dental Hygiene Habits Started Now

Halloween in Australia may not elicit the same fervor as it does in the U.S., but for kids, at least, the dress-up holiday has become a little more visible. Of course, with kids, the candy aspect is the most interesting. As a parent, you may not realize just how much candy your child can ingest in the weeks before and days after October 31. The candy negatively affects their physical health as well as their teeth. Halloween can be a fun holiday, and you don't want to forbid your child from taking part if they are interested in how it's celebrated. However, now is a good time to prepare and ensure your kids' dental care habits are still good.

A Good Time to Review Younger Children's Brushing and Flossing Habits

Even if you taught your children well regarding how to take care of their teeth, there's always the risk one or all of your kids have gotten a bit lazy in their habits. They could brush very quickly or not floss as thoroughly as they should. You can verbally remind older children to be careful when they brush and floss, but for younger children, you may want to watch what they do one day when brushing and flossing their teeth. Take the opportunity to correct them and to ensure they don't miss spots (or entire sections of teeth).

By the way, it doesn't matter what order they brush and floss in. They can floss first, as long as they do it correctly. Double-checking that your kids are brushing and flossing correctly will help them keep their teeth healthy even if they eat a lot of candy.

One more thing. Brushing and flossing shouldn't occur right after eating. You want to wait about a half hour or so, so that the enamel on your teeth has a chance to recover from any acids in foods that it encountered. If you brush too soon after eating, you can end up scratching your tooth enamel as food acids can soften it a bit. Be sure your kids know that if they're old enough to understand the terminology.

Set Limits Around Candy Before and After Halloween (but Don't Forbid It)

You don't want to forbid candy entirely or create super-strict limits like having only one tiny piece per day. But you do need to set limits so that your kids' teeth are not swimming in sugar for weeks. Maybe have one limit in the leadup to Halloween when people are handing out candy in school or in clubs, then let them go wild on Halloween itself, and then set another limit for after Halloween as they work their way through leftover candy. This limits the sugars that end up on their teeth that contribute to cavity formation.

You Might Want to Schedule Cleanings Soon After the Holiday

To help ensure their teeth are doing well, you might want to schedule their regular dental cleaning for a week or two after Halloween. That will help you monitor their tooth and gum health and remove plaque that may have built up as a result of the candy. Contact your dentist for appointments. You want your kids to enjoy themselves, but you also want their teeth to be healthy. Your dentist can help.