Is the thought of your children eating all that Halloween candy is the scariest part of Halloween? We don’t have any particular wisdom to share when it comes to managing “sugar highs,” unfortunately. However, Halloween candy doesn’t have to cause problems for your kids’ teeth when you follow these tooth-friendly candy tips from Dr. James Ross at Family, Cosmetic, & Laser Dentistry in Novi, MI.
It’s Not The Sugar, It’s The Plaque
Contrary to popular opinion, sugar doesn’t cause dental decay. The fault lies with bacteria in the mouth that feed off the sugar and produce acid. The acid is what erodes tooth enamel and irritates the gums.
That process doesn’t happen constantly. Bacteria are washed off the teeth and gums by saliva and by the beverages we drink. However, some bacteria form a thin film called plaque that forms on the gum line around the teeth. Plaque keeps bacteria in close contact with the teeth and gums.
Some sticky Halloween candy like popcorn balls, toffee, and caramel lodges in the tiny grooves in teeth and between the teeth. That makes those traces of sweet stuff harder to brush and floss away. If you’re like most parents, getting your kids to brush and floss thoroughly is something of a struggle.
Sour ball candy can also create problems. That type of candy contains a fair amount of acid which also erodes dental enamel.
With that in mind, there are two approaches you can take to minimize the risk to your children’s teeth – reduce the amount of problem-causing candies, and reduce the amount of time those traces remain on their teeth.
Chocolate Is Your Friend At Halloween
Yes, you read that right. We’re not recommending consuming large amounts of chocolate at any time, but when it comes to Halloween candy, chocolate is more tooth-friendly than the troublemakers listed above.
Chocolate dissolves fairly easily in the mouth, and any remaining traces are much easier to brush away. Dark chocolate has the added benefit of actually discouraging bacterial growth!
Engineer A Trade
Swapping chocolate for caramels, toffees, and popcorn balls reduces the amount of lingering traces that feed decay-causing bacteria. But you’re not limited to offering chocolate. There’s a trend away from candy and toward kid-friendly Halloween trinkets – bubbles, glow sticks, “creepy” accessories, and stickers, for instance. If have those left over, you can swap them for some of your kids’ treasure-trove of candy.
Timing Is Crucial
In addition to reducing the total amount of sugar, reducing the length of time that it remains in the mouth is important. If possible, try to schedule your children’s candy consumption for times when they’ll be brushing fairly soon afterward. Candy as an after-dinner treat is usually well received.
A Dental Cleaning Is A Good Idea
Follow these tips and you’ll reduce the risk of Halloween candy to your children’s teeth. You might also consider scheduling dental cleanings and examinations for the whole family with Dr. James Ross at Family, Cosmetic, & Laser Dentistry in Novi, MI. Call our office at 248-697-2487 to make sure that Halloween candy is more treat than dental disaster.