Just thinking about Halloween candy and its effect on your children’s teeth is enough to make you want to avoid the holiday all together. But don’t fret, your kids CAN eat candy, and trick-or-treat with their friends– and still be healthy.
Tooth Decay in Children
The U.S. Surgeon General recognizes oral health as critical to overall well-being. Unfortunately, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, cavities are a chronic disease that’s five times more common than asthma among our nation’s children.
The majority of tooth decay occurs from eating foods that contain sugars or starches that enable bacteria in dental plaque to produce acids. If the acids remain in their mouth for longer than 20 minutes, it can lead to a loss of tooth minerals and eventually– cavities.
Making Better Choices
Choosing the right kinds of candies and snacks this Halloween is a crucial part to keeping your kiddos teeth healthy.
Try and avoid lollipops or any hard candies that will allow large amounts of sugar to sit in their mouth for long periods of time. If your child licks a piece of hard candy every few minutes, they’ll be more susceptible to tooth decay, because long-lasting snacks create an acid attack the entire time they’re in the mouth. Therefore, one approach would be to allow your little witches and goblins to indulge in their Halloween candy at mealtimes– instead of as a snack.
In addition, avoid sour candies, since they’re highly acidic, and taffy– because it can get stuck in their teeth.
Don’t worry– we aren’t making you avoid all of the good stuff this holiday. Grab some dark chocolate! Its antioxidant properties will help to keep your kid’s hearts healthy.
Furthermore, sugar-free hard candies can stimulate saliva and prevent dry mouth.
Finally, chewing sugar-free gum after meals helps to prevent cavities, by aiding in removing food particles in teeth left behind that cause decay.
We’ll Buy Back Your Candy!
We’re having an awesome event that we’d love for you to participate in. This Halloween, if you have leftover candy, or candy that you don’t want your children to eat– donate it! On November 2nd, we’ll buy back your unwanted candy and donate it to servicemen and women overseas. It’s a great way to teach your kids about our military and giving back to the community. Plus, they get a little cash incentive. It’s a win-win.
It’s okay to let your children have Halloween treats– just make sure they do it in moderation. Depriving your kids of all candy will only make them want it more. Remember, good dental health depends on more than just their diet.
Practice good oral hygiene by making sure your kiddos brush and floss every day, use fluoride toothpaste, and visit us regularly. If it’s been over six months since they’ve been in to see us, make an appointment today.
Dr. Randall Burba is an American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry accredited dentist, practicing in Salem, Massachusetts. He considers himself an artist–with teeth and beyond! He often paints, draws and has a passion for woodworking.