It’s that time of year again!
Your children are excited, but you are afraid…afraid of the sugary ghosts of candy that will stick around to haunt your kids teeth long after Halloween is over. By practicing proper dental care and following a few key tips, your little ones can enjoy this spookily sweet holiday without causing lasting damage to their teeth.
Here’s a guideline of the best and worst Halloween candy for your kids to eat.
- Sticky, chewy candy – Gummies, taffy, caramel (anything that sticks to teeth) is too hard for saliva, and even toothbrushes, to remove. The longer sugar is stuck to your teeth, the more damage it will do.
- Sour candy: Sour candy causes enamel erosion because it has high levels of acidity.
- High sugar sweets: Anything with high sugar content, such as candy corn, can lead to tooth decay.
- Sugar-free hard candy and sugar-free suckers: These types of candy stimulate saliva production and saliva is our natural defense against bacteria in the mouth.
- Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate melts fast and doesn’t stick to your teeth as much as other candies, plus it has the added benefit of antioxidants.
- Sugar-free gum: Sugar-free gum is the best option of all. It stimulates saliva production and also helps dislodge remnants of previously eaten food and sweets from the teeth.
Now that we know what kinds of candy to avoid, we shouldn’t have any problem keeping our children from eating it, right? (I kid, I kid). The truth is that most kids are going to want all the WORST kinds of candy available. If your kiddo’s favorite candy is a dentists’ worse nightmare, don’t panic! There are several ways to help reduce the impact of all that sugar on their teeth.
Make sure your little ones eat a healthy, filling meal before they head out for trick-or-treating. If their bellies are full they won’t be tempted to eat as much candy.
Have an assigned “candy time” for your kids, followed by a tooth brushing and flossing. If they snack on candy over a prolonged period of time, the teeth are continuously being exposed to sugar. Giving them a designated time to eat candy allows you to ensure that their mouths are properly cared for afterward.
If brushing and flossing afterward is not a possibility, encourage them to drink a glass of water. Drinking water helps your mouth produce saliva, which will help to clean out any bacteria accumulating in the mouth.
It’s good to monitor your children’s oral health habits at Halloween, but don’t forget to monitor them the rest of the year as well. All kids should know and practice the three keys to good dental hygiene: brush twice a day for two minutes, floss daily and visit your dentist every six months.