What are The Worst Halloween Candies for Children's Teeth?
Halloween: the holiday of ghosts and goblins and things that go bump in the night. Then there’s the little matter of all that Halloween candy and its attack on your children’s teeth. Any dentist will tell you Halloween candy plus kids equals an increased risk of cavities. When it comes to oral health, all candy is not created equal. Some candies can cause much more trouble than others. Treats that are loaded with sugar, acidic or very chewy — which means they stay in contact with the teeth over a longer period of time — are more likely to set up the perfect conditions for tooth decay.
Almost any kind of Halloween candy is high in sugar. A roll of Necco wafers, however, has more sugar than is recommended for an entire day. Bubble gum is another offender, and because it stays in the mouth for a long time, the teeth are bathed in sugar. Lollipops and suckers are essentially sugar with some flavoring.
Sticky or Chewy
Candies that are chewy take longer to eat, but they also tend to stick to the teeth and are hard to remove. Caramel, taffy and gummy bears adhere to the spaces between teeth and take a long time to dissolve in saliva. Gummy bears and other treats are often sweetened with high fructose corn syrup and contain gelatin, which helps make them extra sticky.
Candies with Acid
Acid is hard on tooth enamel. Since sugar combines with bacteria in the mouth to form acid, eating a candy that contains both sugar and acid is a double whammy. Sour candies such as Sour Patch Kids or lemon drops contain citric, malic and fumaric acids that wear away tooth enamel when held in your child’s mouth. These can be almost as acidic as battery acid, according to an article for Therabreath.
Prevention is Worth a Pound of Candy
Halloween is a lot of fun for your children. You can help make it healthy as well with a few simple strategies. You can’t control what your kids receive from the neighbors, but you can control what happens after they bring their loot home. Limit the candy intake, not only on the big night itself, but thereafter. Make candy an occasional treat for after a meal.
All of those Halloween goodies will keep for a long time, so you might set a goal of spacing the candy out until next Halloween. Once the candy is down the hatch, your child should rinse with water, or even better, get out the toothbrush. Ensure your children brush and floss twice a day. Make regular appointments with a pediatric dentist for ongoing dental care.