Whether that fall nip is in the air or not, Halloween is coming. That means tons of Ninja turtles, cowboys, and princesses who will be eagerly collecting those Halloween treats at your front door. Mostly likely your children will be among those amassing a candy stash. If so, don’t despair about the impact of candy on your children’s teeth. Dr. Kevin Layton of Dental Images of Oklahoma City is happy to offer these tips for teeth-friendly Halloween treats.
Time On Teeth Is Crucial
Let’s face it – sugar-free candy is never going to catch on at Halloween (or any other time, with kids). From an oral health standpoint, sugar that leaves the mouth quickly doesn’t cause a problem. It’s when the sugar hangs around that things get dicey.
You should know that sugar by itself doesn’t cause tooth decay. Some bacteria that live in our mouths combine with saliva to form dental plaque – a thin, sticky film that forms around the teeth on the gum line. The bacteria eat the sugar and excrete acid that attacks tooth enamel and irritates the gums.
Sticky Halloween candies like caramels, toffees, and popcorn balls are the worst offenders. The candies can stick in the tiny grooves of the teeth and between the teeth. That gives the bacteria in plaque a steady food supply which means they multiply and produce even more acid.
Sourball candies are another problem. Sourballs are usually held in the mouth for extended periods of time. That type of candy is high in acid that can also erode tooth enamel.
You’re Not Gonna Believe This
Rather than acidic and sticky candies, let your children eat more chocolate Halloween treats. Dark chocolate is best, but even milk chocolate doesn’t stick the way caramels and toffees do. Chocolate dissolves pretty quickly in the mouth, and any leftover chocolate is easy to brush and floss away.
With that in mind, try to time Halloween treats for shortly before your children will brush – as an after-dinner treat, for instance. If that’s not possible, insist that your children thoroughly rinse their mouths after eating chocolate. Less sugar in the mouth is better.
Trick or treat doesn’t have to be all about candy. There are a number of fun alternatives that you can hand out at Halloween. Stickers and glow sticks are popular with young children as are spooky accessories. If you have young children, you know what gets them excited so be guided by that.
Don’t Forget To See The Dentist
Hopefully, your post-Halloween candy control program works well for you and your children. Regardless, not all is lost! Regular dental cleanings and examinations are a vital part of your children’s dental health, perhaps even more at this time of year. They’re an insurance policy, so to speak, against Halloween teeth problems.
At Dental Images of Oklahoma City in Oklahoma City, OK, we’re here for you and your family. Call at 405-395-2283 to schedule your little candy-gobblers for dental cleanings and examinations.