Better Halloween Candy Choices
Here come the little monsters! And the fairy princesses, Ninja turtles, and every other costumed child in your neighborhood. Many parents worry about the effect of all that Halloween candy on their children’s teeth. However, with the right candy selections and some parental management, Halloween doesn’t have to be a dental disaster! Parkway Dental in Snellville, GA is pleased to present these tips for more teeth-friendly Halloween candy.
It’s A Sticky Situation
Every parent knows that sugar isn’t good for children’s teeth. That’s only part of the story. The problem with sugar is that it serves as a food source for some of the bacteria that live in our mouths. Those bacteria combine with saliva to produce a thin, sticky film called dental plaque that forms on the gum line around the teeth.
The bacteria in plaque eat the sugar in our foods (including Halloween candy!) and produce acid, which is what erodes enamel and can lead to tooth decay. Usually, sugar is easily dissolved in the mouth and washed away by saliva and beverages. However, stick candies such as taffy, caramel, and even popcorn balls can stick in the tiny grooves in the teeth and between the teeth. That gives those bacteria a steady source of food.
Probably every parent struggles trying to get children to brush and floss thoroughly. It takes some extra effort to remove all the sticky remains of those candies, and the longer they’re in place, the more acid those bacteria will produce.
Speaking of acid, sour ball candy is also a cavity culprit. Sourballs have quite a bit of acid in them and they’re often held in the mouth for a long time. That additional acid isn’t good for children’s teeth, either.
Since sticky candies are a problem, candies that dissolve more readily and completely in the mouth are better. Believe it or not, chocolate is a better choice for your kids’ teeth than sticky candies. Chocolate isn’t held in the mouth for long periods of time and it dissolves pretty easily in the mouth. Any remaining traces are easily brushed away.
Dark chocolate is best because it contains factors that actually inhibit the growth of bacteria, but even milk chocolate is a better choice if your goal is to limit the amount of sugar and the time that sugar will remain in the mouth.
Timing Is Everything
Since time on teeth is a big part of the cavity equation, try to limit your kids’ candy snacking to times when they’ll be brushing their teeth a bit later. Using candy as an after-dinner treat is one idea, but every parent will need to figure out what works best for their family.
You can also engineer a swap with your children – chocolate in exchange for their sticky candies and sour balls. This probably isn’t a perfect solution, but limiting exposure to sticky candy is always a good idea.
It’s Not All About Candy Any More
A recent trend that many parents welcome is the move away from Halloween candy to emphasize inexpensive but fun items. Stickers, bubbles, “spooky” accessories, and glow sticks are popular choices.
Still, a certain amount of Halloween candy consumption is almost inevitable this time of year. Consider scheduling a dental cleaning and examination for each of your children with Parkway Dental, a Snellville GA dental office. Call 770-676-1122 for an appointment.