PLANTATION, FLA., Oct. 24, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- With Halloween, the number one holiday for candy sales, around the corner you will obviously want to celebrate with some sugary treats! In fact, according to the National Retail Federation's (NRF) annual survey an estimated $2.5 billion will be spent to purchase 90 million pounds of candy for Halloween. But mark your calendars because you will want to book an appointment with your dental hygienist soon after and just in time as October is National Dental Hygiene Month.
Dental hygienists specialize in preventive oral health care. The services and guidance they offer go far beyond cleaning your teeth. And, during your appointment you can take advantage of your hygienist's knowledge to enhance your dental hygiene routine.
Your dental hygienist can tell you about the best ways to avoid dental decay and gum disease, including developing a nutritional plan that will help keep your mouth and teeth healthy. He or she can show you how to brush and floss correctly and help you educate your children on the importance of good oral hygiene, especially before they consume Halloween candy.
"Around holidays like Halloween, it is hard to say no to candy and often times it is challenging to motivate your kids to brush correctly or for the recommended two full minutes," said Lisa Landman, registered dental hygienist and :DentalPlans' provider marketing program specialist.
So what can be done to help keep mouths healthy and clean? Below are some recommended tips:
Choose Treats Wisely: Avoid acidic or sticky candy – think caramel/candy apples, hard or sour candy and gummies – which cling to the teeth and provide a steady source of fuel for oral bacteria.
Drink Water/Avoid Sugary Drinks: Includes soda, juice and sports drinks, which cling and erode the teeth. For children, fluorinated water can help combat tooth decay.
Chew Gum/Rinse Your Mouth: Chewing sugarless gum and rinsing increases saliva flow to neutralize acid levels in your mouth and wash away food that is clinging to your teeth.
Moderation: Think portion control – don't continually graze on those cute little "fun size" candy bars, which continuously fuels oral bacteria.
Offer Healthier Alternatives: Chocolate bars, pretzels, etc. are healthier than other sugary treats. And for your teeth, sometimes a chocolate bar fares better than dried fruit like raisins, which stick to your teeth. Apples and carrots are great choices for in between brushing.
Indulge Periodically: 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.
Keep it Clean: control plaque by brushing thoroughly twice a day plus daily flossing, along with regular professional cleanings.
And, if your child is going to consume candy periodically or for weeks to come after accumulating a lot from trick-or-treating, it is recommended they swap out their toothbrush for a new one.
"To avoid cavities and excessive or expensive trips to the dentist, parents should consider purchasing an electronic toothbrush for their children. These toothbrushes vary in price, some as low as $10, and have different features such as character designs and even musical tunes, which prompt when to move to the next quadrant of the mouth. They can be purchased at a local grocery store and help to motivate children to brush their teeth thoroughly – making the experience a fun one," said Landman.
During your appointment your dental hygienist will examine your 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, vice president of marketing for :DentalPlans.
And, preventive dental care can save you time and money while helping to ensure your teeth are healthier.
"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," said Chase.
Dental insurance typically covers the full cost of checkups and cleanings. But if you don't have insurance, and can't afford to see your dentist and hygienist regularly, look into dental savings plans.
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.
:DentalPlans, founded in 1999, is a leading dental and health savings 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. For more information, visit us at www.dentalplans.com and find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube. For recent news follow us on Twitter (@DentalPlansPR).
Bonnie Strouse Sobrino | :DentalPlans (954) 668-2118 (Direct)