Enjoying all of those tasty Halloween treats — and the following holiday sweets as well — will be much easier when your mouth is in optimum health. Exposed cavities and tender gums will not mix well with an onslaught of sugar and candy galore. It is vital to enjoy your treats in moderation and practice good oral hygiene to protect your smile.
You can minimize the cost of your indulgence by analyzing your candy and limiting yourself to the treats that will be least harmful to your teeth. The following post from the Academy of General Dentistry provides some eye-opening insight into which candies are better and which are worse for your dental health.
“Of course, dentists do not advocate that children eat large amounts of sugary treats, but it is that time of year, so we want to clarify for parents which treats are better for their kids’ teeth and which ones may increase the risk of developing cavities,” says Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Cynthia Sherwood, DDS, FAGD.
- Chewy/sticky sweets, such as gummy candies, taffy, and even dried fruit can be difficult for children and adults to resist, and even more difficult to remove from teeth. “These candies are a serious source of tooth decay, particularly when they get stuck in the crevices between teeth, making it nearly impossible for saliva to wash them away,” Dr. Sherwood says.
- Sour candies are highly acidic and can break down tooth enamel quickly. The good news: Saliva slowly helps to restore the natural balance of the acid in the mouth. Dr. Sherwood recommends that patients wait 30 minutes to brush their teeth after consuming sour/acidic candies; otherwise, they will be brushing the acid onto more tooth surfaces and increasing the risk of enamel erosion.
- Sugar-free lollipops and hard candies stimulate saliva, which can help prevent dry mouth. “A dry mouth allows plaque to build up on teeth faster, leading to an increased risk of cavities,” Dr. Sherwood says.
- Sugar-free gum can actually prevent cavities as it not only dislodges food particles from between the teeth but also increases saliva — which works to neutralize the acids of the mouth and prevent tooth decay. Read more at Know Your Teeth
What to Do With Extra Candy?
Here at Adult Dentistry of Ballantyne, we’ve heard all sorts of creative ways our patients with children have minimized the candy consumption in their homes. They include purchasing candy from their kids, inaugurating a year-round candy bowl (stocked wisely and with controlled access) in lieu of Halloween’s sugary free-for-all, and donating excess treats to the local food bank. These are all great ideas, and here are more excellent suggestions from Parenting.com, including:
Use it for your kid’s birthday party
- Make a board game and use the candy as playing pieces.
- Create DIY candy necklaces.
- Stuff it into a piñata.
Send it overseas
Groups like Operation Shoebox, which supports our troops, will gladly take donations as will groups for the homeless and disadvantaged. See Parenting.com for more outstanding ideas
Brush & Floss To Avoid Tooth Nightmares
Halloween is the perfect time to (re)commit to a good daily oral hygiene regimen. Remember that your children and grandchildren watch your teeth cleaning habits. After everyone has had their scary sugar treats, participate with the kids in a dedicated brushing and flossing time. Your example can help instill among your little ones a lifelong commitment to maintaining a healthy smile.