Trick-or-Treat: Reno Dentist Answers Questions About Halloween Candy

Dr. Whitney GarolSPONSORED POST

The Smile Shop has provided some information on commonly asked questions that parents may have about pediatric dentistry, including limiting the impact of Halloween candy. Happy reading!

Q. How often should your child get x-rays? What about the radiation?

A. X-rays should always be determined on an “as needed” basis. We like to start getting x-rays when the teeth are touching in the back, meaning there’s no space between the back molars (a prime area for cavities). These are especially important because we can’t see the cavities forming between the teeth, like we can on the biting surfaces and sides of the tooth. This usually starts around 4 years old, and after the initial x-ray exam we’ll take them once a year. Sometimes we will do them more frequently if we see something during the exam or need to keep an eye out for spots that could potentially turn into cavities. Once the child starts to get older (usually into the late teens) some dentists will take x-rays 12-18 months to extend time in between x-rays. Of course, it will always depend on the child’s hygiene and past dental experience.

Q. What about the radiation?

A. The radiation we use is a very low dose. If we ever need to take more, we are always conscious of the amount of x-rays taken, and do everything we can to minimize the amount of pictures needed.

Q. My child is 10 months old, but still doesn’t have any teeth. When should I be worried?

A. Some kids are a little behind dentally, and even some more kids don’t get their first teeth until after they turn one. If your little one hasn’t gotten their teeth after 12 months, feel free to talk to your pediatric dentist. It’s completely normal, but it’s always nice to have reassurance and a professional take a look when it comes to a child’s dental development. On the flip side, there are even some eight year olds who haven’t lost any baby teeth yet. It’s very unique to each child, and based on the individual. What can really throw the parents for a loop is when siblings get their teeth in at completely varying rates.

Q. My child has need of a filling. How do I prepare them?

A. Try to avoid using words like shots, injections, and needles. It’s understandable that a child would get a sense of apprehension if they are preparing for a scary event. Use words like spin brush instead of drill, or sleepy juice instead of shot/injection to let your little one know that it’s there to help improve the health of their teeth. Start the conversation with your children about “Cavity Bugs” giving them an opportunity to turn the experience into an adventure. Also, remember, your children will mirror your behavior. If they see you nervous, they’ll get nervous too. If your child is really apprehensive, some dental offices will use Nitrous Gas (laughing gas) to help them relax. Our dentistry office uses this, and other methods like TVs and Movies for entertainment and distraction while they are getting their fillings.

Q. How do you limit the impacts of Halloween Candy?

A. Cavities don’t happen overnight, but it’s still important to limit the amount of candy from Halloween. It is best to remove all the really sticky chewy candy (Airheads, Laughy Taffy, Sour Patch Kids, etc.) as those tend to get stuck in the teeth for long periods of time. Then limit how long you have the candy around the house to a few days after Halloween, while also limiting the amount per day. It is best to brush right after, but if that is not available at that time, then rinse with water after enjoying a sugary treat. Always make sure to brush with fluoride toothpaste and floss really well. Halloween only comes once a year and dentists don’t want to spoil all the fun out of trick or treating, but limiting the candy is best.

Q. What should I know about xylitol?

A. Xylitol is a type of sugar that is derived naturally from certain type of trees, fruits and vegetables. Xylitol has been known to reduce the amount of bacteria that is the main culprit for causing cavities. Xylitol gum helps to increase saliva production that in turn also helps to reduce that decay causing bacteria. It is best to discuss the amount and frequency of xylitol that should be used with your dentist prior to using it on a daily basis.

Dr. Whitney Garol attended Galena High School, then the University of Nevada, Reno where she graduated with distinction, receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a minor in psychology. Dr. Garol graduated magna cum laude with a doctor of dental medicine degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine. Always having a passion for treating children, she decided to further her training with a pediatric dental residency at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. At one of the premier children’s hospitals in the nation, she received extensive training to provide excellent dental care to infants, children and adolescents. She us a board candidate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and active member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

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