Halloween is just around the corner and your kids may have already picked out their costumes. As you find yourself going door to door with your fairy, witch, or vampire this October 31st, here are a few things to keep in mind as those trick or treat bags fill up. Of course, no candy is great for teeth, but here are some to especially watch out for as your little ones gather their tasty loot this year.
The More Sticky, The Worse It Is
A general rule of thumb is to watch out for any candy that stays on teeth for long periods of time. The more sticky the candy, the worse it usually is for teeth. Candies that are sticky and chewy can get stuck on teeth and in between tooth surfaces. This can cause bacteria to grow, which is the foundation for tooth decay. This means items like gummy worms, taffy, nougat, and caramel may be ones to keep to a minimum when trick or treating.
Sours Wears Enamel Away
Sour candies are particularly bad for teeth, as the same acid used to make them sour can also eat away at tooth enamel. This is especially true for young children, who have softer enamel in their mouths. It is also best to wait 30 minutes after you eat sour candies before you brush your teeth. If you don’t wait , you could end up brushing more of that sugary acid back onto your teeth and increase the risk of cavities.
Taking Their Time
Hard candies, like lollipops and jawbreakers, can bathe teeth in a constant wash of sugar, and they take a long time to dissolve, meaning those bacteria have a chance to really gain a foothold. It’s also important to watch out for super-hard candies like jawbreakers, which can chip or damage teeth if they are chomped on too forcefully. A good trick is to tell your children to rinse their mouths with water after they finish one of these long lasting treats. This can cut down on the acid levels and wash away some of that excess sugar.
Candies such as Pixy Stix are really just pure sugar, which is never great to dump right into your mouth, but at least you don’t have to chew it. Since these types of candy are usually poured right onto the tongue, it means that they can dissolve fairly quickly and will not get stuck in teeth.
Chocolate is a surprisingly good choice overall, as it melts and dissolves quickly in the mouth. Pure chocolate, without any chewy fillings, also don’t stick to teeth like many of the more popular candy choices. Chocolate can also contain calcium, which can help protect tooth enamel. Choices like Peanut M & M’s, which come pre-portioned, are an even better option, as they have some nutritional value and won’t allow for too much binging. Another decent choice is lollipops and hard candies that are sugar free. These types of treats can actually stimulate saliva in your mouth. More saliva production can help fights germs and also, saliva contains proteins and minerals that can prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Another good way to try to protect your child’s teeth from the excesses of all that Halloween candy is dole it out in smaller portions at limited times, like after dinner or a snack.
If you have other questions about candy and kids teeth health, contact North Bend dentist Dr. Lemire or our staff today.