Fighting Monsters - Good and Bad Halloween Candy and how to keep cavities away
October 12, 2018
Stores are jumping.
Hearts are thumping.
Halloween is here...
...And parents are thinking about costumes, parties and safety as they prepare for another year of tricks and treats. You probably oversee the house-to-house march and keep a careful eye on the candy bags. But did you know that you and your family dentist can actually guide your kids to healthy candy? According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), Americans spend nearly $9 billion annually on candy. In October, much of that candy ends up on the teeth of the 41 million trick-or-treating children ages 5 – 14. Of course, it’s nearly impossible for parents to keep candy out of kids’ mouths (and even their own!) during Halloween.
The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) has some general guidelines on Halloween treats–best healthy candy versus worst damaging treats. Your family dentist has lots of suggestions, too.
Worst Halloween candy for your teeth
Avoid these treacherous treats to ward off creepy, crawly cavities:
Sticky stuff – sugary bubble gum, taffy, licorice, gummies, caramel, candy corn, and candy bars with coconut or nuts, and gummy candy
The worst: Though these Halloween delights are tempting, they can also be difficult to remove with a toothbrush alone. TIP: sour gummy candies can break down tooth enamel quickly due to their high acid content. If you can’t resist, wait 30 minutes before brushing or you run the risk of brushing more acid onto your other teeth.
Hard candies, including suckers and jawbreakers
The worst: Think about it: they dissolve in your mouth so the sugar just sits there on your teeth and everywhere else. Some hard candies can even chip your teeth. That’ll make ‘em growl like a ghoul!
Halloween’s healthy candy for your teeth
If you must indulge, eat Halloween’s healthy (or healthier) candy. Family dentists suggest:
Sugar-free hard candies, including sugar-free lollipops
The best: Hard candies stimulate saliva production; sugar-free is the way to go. Healthy sugar-free saliva helps prevent plaque buildup. A dry mouth can also actually lead to more cavities.
The best: Chewing gum that is free from sugar can dislodge food particles from your teeth and increase saliva production. Both of these things can decrease the risk of tooth decay and cavity formation.
Chocolate-based candies (yes, with sugar)
The best: Family dentists don’t usually encourage sugar consumption, but plain chocolate candy (dark is best) tends to rinse away from teeth quickly and easily. Remember...plain is best!
Promote a healthier Halloween with these candy alternatives
Healthy is as healthy does – make your house the healthy treat go-to destination. Fun packs of popcorn, pretzels, and other savory treats are good candy replacements that can be easily brushed and flossed away.
Always remember that if you and the little goblins must eat sugary foods, moderation is key! And whatever you do, don’t forget to brush, floss and schedule regular dental cleanings.
At Dakota Family Dentistry, we understand how important Halloween is to your family. For more info or to schedule an appointment today to put your child on the path to lifelong oral health, call us at 605- 352-6999.
Last Modified: 10/12/2018 1:18:24 pm MDT