Halloween Candy: Tooth Care Tips For Your Kids
For kids, Halloween is the perfect time to dress up in their favorite costumes, hang out with friends, and of course — eat a lot of candy! While an occasional piece of candy isn’t the end of the world, too much sugar consumption can wreak havoc on your child’s teeth. Here are a few dental care tips for Halloween to protect your kid’s teeth from cavities.
Enjoy Treats in Moderation
One of the best ways to prevent tooth decay this Halloween is to avoid letting your child snack on candy throughout the day. When teeth are exposed to sugar for extended periods of time, tooth enamel begins to break down and wear away, making teeth more vulnerable to cavities. Instead, allow your child to have a small quantity of candy at limited times during the day, like after dinner. The increased saliva production following a meal will help wash away food particles and neutralize the harmful acids produced by bacteria.
Some Candies Are More Harmful Than Others
Not all candies are created equal, and some types of sugary treats can cause more harm to your teeth than others. To keep cavities at bay, consider tossing these types of candies from your child’s trick-or-treat bag.
- Hard candies like suckers and jawbreakers dissolve very slowly in the mouth. The sugars sit on the surfaces of teeth for a large amount of time, which increases the risk for decay. Additionally, hard candies can chip or break teeth.
- Sticky and chewy candies like taffy, dried fruit and caramel cling to tooth surfaces and get stuck in the crevices of the teeth. Saliva and brushing may not adequately rinse all of the sticky residue from your teeth. Chewy sweets can continue to promote decay for hours after consumption.
- Sour candies, including Skittles and Sour Patch Kids, are highly acidic, which can eat away at tooth enamel.
While no sugary treats are great for the teeth, some candies are less harmful than others. Non-chewy chocolates, powdered candies and sugar-free candies are better choices this Halloween season as they melt and dissolve quickly in the mouth. Sugar-free gum is also a great alternative to hard or sticky treats, as it encourages saliva production to wash away excess sugar.
Encourage Good Dental Habits
In addition to monitoring the types and amounts of candy your child is eating, it is equally important to promote effective oral health habits at home. Good dental care tips include:
- Brush teeth twice a day for a full two minutes and floss daily. Assist your child if needed.
- Rinse with water following a treat to remove excess sugar from the teeth. Brush as soon as possible.
- Encourage healthier snacks in place of Halloween candy, like sliced apples, carrots or string cheese.
- Set a candy limit for your child, and get rid of the rest, especially those that are hard and chewy.
- Maintain regular cleanings and exams for your child with his or her dentist. A dentist can help remove plaque and tartar that cause cavities and gum disease.
We Wish You a Healthy, Happy Halloween!
At Natomas Crossing Dental Care, we want our younger patients to enjoy a fun night of trick-or-treating! With help from mom and dad, a better understanding of smart candy choices and proper dental hygiene habits, kids can help protect their teeth from cavities while enjoying the treats they love. For more oral care tips for Halloween or to learn more about our pediatric dental services, contact our office today.