As Halloween approaches, Margaret Mitchell, DDS, owner of Chicago-based Mitchell Dental Spa, offers orthodontic patients and their parents some tooth-protecting tips.

Mitchell advises parents to have children brush as soon as possibleafter eating candy, minimizing the impact of the candy on the teeth. Ifbrushing is not possible, Mitchell recommends that children eitherconsume the candy with a meal (so that the increased saliva producedwhile eating will help wash the candy off the teeth) or rinse the mouthwith water.

In addition, children can chew sugarless gum, especially xylitol gumsthat help control tooth decay-causing bacteria. Mitchell also adviseseating the candy in one sitting to decrease the amount of time it is incontact with the teeth.

Prior to Halloween, Mitchell recommends that children visit theirdentist to have sealants put into their teeth grooves to protect toothenamel against corrosion caused by excess sugar.

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