Pediatric dentists shiver in fear every October when they think about the damage Halloween candy can do to their patients’ teeth. Trick-or-treating is fun, but too many sweets this time of year can mean toothaches and expensive dental appointments later.
But, there’s no reason to confiscate your kid’s entire candy stash; if you know which treats are the worst and which are better for teeth, your child can still enjoy this holiday and maintain good dental health. The team at Dentistry For Kids in Pearl City, HI, has some advice about good and bad candy choices this Halloween.
The Worst Candy
- Sour Candy: This type of candy is highly acidic, causing tooth enamel to break down. Saliva in the mouth slowly counteracts the acidity of these sweets, so pediatric dentists recommend waiting at least 30 minutes before your child brushes their teeth. Otherwise, the acid can be brushed onto other teeth, worsening the problem.
- Hard Candy: These treats take a long time to eat, which means more time for the sugar to come into contact with the teeth. This gives bacteria in the mouth more time to feed off the sugars, increasing the risk for cavities. Additionally, children are tempted to bite these hard candies, which could cause teeth to break.
- Sticky & Chewy Candy: These sweets get stuck easily between teeth, where it’s hard to clean. They also take a long time to dissolve, which means the sugar stays in your child’s mouth for an extended time. This is an ideal situation for cavities.
Pediatric dentists recommend that children avoid eating large amounts of candy, so you should allow your child only a small portion of what they’ve accumulated on Halloween night. The best choice in your kid’s trick-or-treat bag is chocolate, as it doesn’t get stuck in teeth and is easily washed away by saliva. Dark chocolate is even better because the sugar content is lower. Other good choices are sugar-free candy or gum.
Halloween doesn’t have to be a scary time for your child’s dental health. Smart candy choices and regular appointments with your pediatric dentist will keep their smile healthy all year long. Whether your child is ready for their first dental visit or due for a regular checkup, Dentistry For Kids strives to provide outstanding preventive dental care for all of their patients. For an appointment, call (808) 486-8881 or visit their website to learn more.