Halloween is just a few weeks away, which means lots of sugary sweets. Unfortunately, Halloween presents many health challenges for children, especially harming their teeth. Now, as much as pediatric dentists would like to get rid of this holiday for the safety of children’s teeth, we know that is impossible. However, what we can do is inform parents about the scary effects candy has on children’s teeth and some dental tips for a healthy Halloween!
Scary Effects of Candy
We all know there are many different kinds of candy, and each kind has different effects on the teeth.
Hard candies like Jolly Ranchers and Fireballs can easily crack teeth, especially children’s teeth. This type of candy tends to stick around longer, which ultimately means more prolonged exposure to sugar. When sugar sticks to the surface of teeth for an extended amount of time, cavities will form.
Like hard candy, sticky candy like Starburst, Tootsie Rolls, and Laffy Taffy’s can get stuck on teeth and stick around for a long time. Sticky candy is harder to remove from teeth, which means more time for bacteria to eat away at the enamel.
Did you know sour candy leaves teeth more susceptible to cavities than hard and sticky candies? That’s right. Sour candy, like Warheads, Sour Skittles, and Lemon Drops, contain high amounts of acid. High levels of acid can weaken and wear away tooth enamel. Some sour candies can even burn gums and cheeks!
Have a “Healthier” Halloween
While there is really no “healthy” candy, there are much better alternatives to some of the more popular candies.
Chocolate, specifically dark, washes away on teeth much easier and faster than other candy. Dark chocolate is better on teeth because it contains much less sugar than milk chocolate. It also contains epicatechin and polyphenols. Epicatechin helps slow tooth decay while polyphenols are packed with antioxidants, which helps battle tooth decay.
Sugar Free Gum
Fun fact – sugar free gum actually cleans teeth! When being chewed, sugarless gum stimulates saliva, which naturally removes teeth of debris and neutralizes acid levels produced by bacteria. Any pediatric dentistry would highly recommend handing out sugar free gum on Halloween night instead of candy.
Keep Your Child’s Teeth Safe This Halloween
This Halloween, try and limit how much candy your child consumes in the days following to protect their precious teeth. If possible, have your children eat their candy after lunch or dinner. Saliva levels increase during meals, so this will help rinse away food and acids in the mouth. Oh, and don’t forget to floss and brush!
Schedule an Appointment With Our Kansas City Pediatric Dentistry
If you live in the Kansas City area, schedule an appointment with our pediatric dentistry before Halloween to ensure your children’s teeth are ready to handle lots of candy. Known as the best pediatric dentist in Kansas City, Dr. Thomas is dedicated to providing your child with the best dental care possible. Schedule an appointment today!