In less than two weeks, the sidewalks will be flooded with candy-hungry trick-or-treaters. Your children may be among them. Many parents wonder how to manage their kids’ Halloween “haul.” Dr. Jeffery Spilman at Jeffery Spilman DDS in St. Petersburg, FL is happy to provide these tips for teeth-friendly Halloween candy.
Sticky Does It
Kids’ preferred Halloween candies are loaded with sugar, and sugar is well-known to contribute to cavities. It’s not the sugar that does it, though.
Bacteria in the mouth combine with saliva to produce a thin, sticky film called dental plaque. Plaque forms around the teeth on the gum line and keeps the bacteria in close contact with the teeth and gums. The bacteria eat the sugar and produce acid that attacks dental enamel and irritates the gums.
Stick candies like caramels, toffees, and popcorn balls are the Halloween candy to avoid. Those candies stick in the tiny grooves in the teeth and between the teeth. That’s not to say that those traces can’t be removed by thorough brushing and flossing. But parents everywhere struggle to get their kids to brush carefully.
When it comes to sugar, time on teeth is what really makes the difference.
Sticky candies aren’t the only Halloween offenders. Sourball candies also cause tooth problems. Sour candies have a fairly high acid content, and they’re often held in the mouth for long periods of time. That gives the acid more time to begin eroding tooth enamel.
You might have trouble believing this, but chocolate is more teeth-friendly than caramels, toffees, and popcorn balls. That’s because chocolate is more easily dissolved by saliva and beverages. It’s also much easier to brush and floss away any residual traces.
Dark chocolate is best, but even milk chocolate is easier on your children’s teeth. But make no mistake – any candy in any form that’s left on or between the teeth is a potential troublemaker. With that in mind, try to schedule Halloween treats for times when your children will soon be caring for their teeth. An after-dinner snack is one suggestion.
It’s Not ALL About Candy Any More
In recent years, parents have been looking for non-candy, kid-friendly Halloween treats. Popular items include stickers, glow sticks, bouncy balls, keychain flashlights, and bubbles. If you provide those for the neighborhood trick-or-treaters, you may have some left over when Halloween ends. Consider swapping some of those fun items for the worst teeth offenders in your children’s Halloween haul.
Bad Things Happen To Good Teeth
You could have a Halloween candy mishap in spite of all your efforts to manage your children’s candy consumption. For instance, biting into hard candies can causing chips in tooth enamel or even result in broken teeth.
Consider scheduling post-Halloween dental cleanings and examinations for your children to make sure that everything’s in order. Your child’s hygienist will remove any trace of plaque and Dr. Spilman’s examination will ensure that any small problems don’t become big problems.
Schedule dental cleanings and examinations for your children with Jeffery Spilman DDS in St. Petersburg, FL. Call our office at 727-645-4727.