It’s that time of year again, the season when the leaves change colors, the air takes on a slight nip, and everybody prepares for the onslaught of trick-or-treaters. There’s no denying that Halloween candy is a challenge for parents to manage, but you don’t have to be scared for their teeth. Davenport Dental Group in Laredo, TX is happy to provides these tips for choosing the best candy for teeth.
It’s All About The Sugar
Sugar has long been identified as one of the major causes of tooth decay and even gum disease. Some of the bacteria that live in everyone’s mouths combine with saliva to create a thin, sticky film called dental plaque. Plaque forms on the gum line around the teeth, and the bacteria in the plaque begin to eat the sugar in our foods and beverages. The bacteria then secrete acid that irritates the gums and eat away at tooth enamel.
Plaque is soft and easily removed by thorough and regular brushing and flossing. As well, sugar in the mouth is usually rinsed away by drinking water or another non-sugared beverage.
Where Halloween candy causes problems is when it’s in a form that will stick to or between the teeth. That gives plaque a steady food source and allows them to begin irritating the gums and eroding enamel.
What’s A Parent To Do?
Virtually every dentist agrees that sugar-free candy is best for children. The problem is that the vast majority of children don’t agree. They’ll happily choose sugared candy over sugar-free every time.
If you can’t avoid the sugar – and let’s face it, at Halloween that’s next to impossible – the best thing to do is to ensure that it doesn’t hang around in the mouth. Caramels, toffees, and other “sticky” candies aren’t the best choice by any means, even though caramel seems to dissolve faster than other types. However, even sticky candies are unlikely to cause problems if the “remnants” are removed promptly by brushing and flossing.
Consider limiting Halloween treats to times when you know that your kids will be brushing and flossing fairly soon – just before or after mealtimes, for instance. If that’s not possible – if you’ve had enough of being pestered, for instance – consider offering them chocolate.
Compared to sticky candies, chocolate is a much better choice, believe it or not. Chocolate will usually be dissolved by saliva, water or other beverages and be washed away. Arguably, it’s the best candy for teeth.
Considerate parents who are worried about providing the best candy for teeth can ditch the Halloween candy they give out at the door in favor of fun things that kids will love – glow sticks and stickers, for instance. Don’t worry – those adorable urchins will likely score more candy than is good for any child.
Don’t Forget The Cleanings and Exams
You’re not alone in your “battle” against the effects of Halloween candy. Davenport Dental Group in Laredo, TX provides gentle and even fun dental cleanings and examinations. We’ll take great care of your kids’ teeth – and yours.