Halloween is just a few days away and you know what that means- candy galore! As a dentist, candy is not the best choice for your teeth. However, I love these sweet treats just as much as most kids do! A few things to keep in mind while enjoying your trick-or-treating goodies are:
- Avoid or limit candy such as caramels, candy corn, jelly beans, and taffy. These particular candies are extra sticky, making it hard for saliva to wash away the sugar.
- Give your kids sugar free gum to chew. Not only does sugar-free gum help prevent cavities, it also helps neutralize the effects of sugar from the candy and therefore, it combats the bacteria in plaque that causes cavities.
- After enjoying candy make sure to brush and floss your teeth. Cavities occur not from the sugar in the candy but from the bacteria which feeds on sugars that are not removed from your teeth when you brush and floss.
- Believe it or not, pixie sticks are some of the safest Halloween treats out there.
Pixie Stix are typically poured directly onto the tongue, avoiding chewing and your teeth altogether. They are then quickly consumed and out of the mouth before any major damage can been done. So while it may not make sense, those sacks of sugar may be the best candy for your teeth.
- Stay away from the sour stuff! According to WebMD, “Dentists’ worst nightmare: ultra-sour, ultra-sticky, ultra-sugary kids’ candies such as Warheads and Toxic Waste. Even sour gummy vitamins can be culprits. ‘These sour candies, when tested, have a really low pH, nearing battery acid,’ says Robyn Loewen, DDS, a fellow in the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and a diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. ‘I liken it to an ice cube that’s been left on the counter. It melts the tooth. To make matters worse, children’s tooth enamel isn’t mature until a decade after their teeth erupt, Loewen says. Because it’s softer, it’s more susceptible to the acid.’”
After helping your kiddos sort through their goodies, let them enjoy some of their treats, but all at one time. It is better to let them have several pieces at once and then put the candy away and brush their teeth rather than allow them to spread it out over time and let the sugar stay on their teeth and in their little mouths. Come up with a plan about how many pieces they can have a day after Halloween and maybe even consider donating some to a local charity.
Halloween is such a fun time and we want you and your kiddos to enjoy every minute of it. Just be careful with the kind of candy they are eating and how long their splurges last! I know my girls will be focused on Skittles and lollipops, their favorites!
Happy Halloween! Dr. Wade