It’s October and Halloween-season has arrived!
Halloween candy consumption poses a risk for increased chances of tooth decay. Does this mean you should prevent your child from enjoying any of their trick-or-treating rewards? Definitely not. However, there are some things you can keep in mind when making decisions about what kind, how much, and how often you allow your son or daughter to enjoy their Halloween candy.
The longer the teeth are exposed to sugar, the higher chance of developing cavities or decay.
If a child sucks on a small candy for 15 seconds it will be far less harmful than if he or she spends 20 minutes with a lollipop. Try offering as much as you’re are comfortable with in one setting for the day and then have your child brush their teeth immediately afterwards. Or, give them one or two pieces after dinner or their snack since they are already being exposed to some sugar while eating. Then, make sure they brush.
The sticky or chewy candy is the worst.
Sugar gets stuck in between teeth and in the grooves of teeth. Sticky and chewy candy takes much longer to rinse out. Bacteria eats this sugar and then produces the acid that causes tooth decay. Some of the worst candies include:
- Anything gummy like Twizzlers, Tootsie Rolls, taffy, and gummy bears
- Gobstoppers, Blow Pops, and lollipops
Try chocolate like M&M’s, Kit Kat, or kisses. Saliva will wash away these foods more easily.
Opt for candy sweetened with Xylitol.
Xylitol is a sweetener from natural sources that has actually been shown to fight cavities. Some types of gum and lollipops are sweetened with Xylitol instead.
Continue to think about healthy teeth year around!
Make sure your child brushes his or her teeth for at least two minutes twice a day and flosses once a day. Encourage children to drink water and milk instead of sugary or acidic drinks like soda and juice. Be sure they see your family dentist for checkups and cleanings twice a year as well.