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Halloween Tricky for Ohio Children’s Teeth

Credit: Mats Hagwell/Flickr
Credit: Mats Hagwell/Flickr
October 28, 2015

Columbus, OH - With sugar being a major contributor to cavities, Halloween is a time that makes many dental health providers cringe. But experts say Ohio children can maintain good oral health while enjoying trick-or-treating. Comments from Beth Tronolone (tron-AH-loan), hygienist and past-president, Ohio Dental Hygienists Association.

With all the sugary loot filling trick-or-treat bags, some dental experts say Halloween is a great time to remind little ghosts and goblins about good oral health care habits. Beth Tronolone, former president of the Ohio Dental Hygienists' Association, explains that the sugar in candy causes the bacteria to make acid that breaks down tooth enamel leading to decay.


"Kids get a lot of dental pain because of that and then they may miss school. So when we do screenings, the number one problem is tooth decay; we see that's the number one issue when we meet with kids."

Tronolone recommends avoiding candy or sweets that stay in the mouth for a long time and are sticky, along with only eating candy with meals. She adds brushing twice a day and flossing is essential in the prevention of tooth decay, as well as regular cleanings from a dental hygienist or dentist.

According to the American Dental Association, regular dental visits can prevent problems and catch them when they are easy to address. But Tronolone says for too many kids, time, money and distance make seeing a dentist tricky.



"In many communities dentists are scarce. So we would love for hygienists to be able to get out to outlying areas and work without the presence of a dentist. We can do that but there's a lot of red tape."

She also says dental therapists, who work under the supervision of a dentist could help to provide care in underserved communities. They are not currently licensed to practice in Ohio, but dental therapists are approved in several other states including Minnesota and Alaska. There are 84 Dental Care Health Professional Shortage Areas in Ohio.

With all the sugary loot filling trick-or-treat bags, some dental experts say Halloween is a great time to remind little ghosts and goblins about good oral health care habits. More from Mary Schuermann.

Mary Schuermann reporting.

Reach Tronolone at 419-705-6724.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH