Most children love to eat candy, and Halloween is a holiday that gives them access to loads of it. Going door to door for trick or treating usually results in children having impressive stashes of sugary treats that they want to gobble for weeks afterward. You are likely wondering if all that candy will result in cavities.
At Richard Hardt Family Dentistry, Doctors Richard Hardt and Lawryn Monterroso are highly experienced dentists who provide excellent, compassionate dental care for your family. They are available to answer all your questions about caring for your kids’ teeth, and what you can do when your children just want to gorge themselves on Halloween candy.
What causes tooth decay?
When your kids consume a lot of sugar and don’t clean their teeth well, the bacteria in their mouths eat those sugars and form plaque. The plaque is acidic and eventually wears down the outer layer of tooth enamel, causing cavities.
The best thing your kids can do to avoid tooth decay is to eat very little sugar and brush their teeth often. However, you likely want to indulge your kids in some Halloween fun without harming their teeth. Some Halloween treats are better than others, although all must be followed by proper teeth brushing, flossing, and rinsing.
While you kids want to have as much candy as possible on Halloween, there are some smart choices you can help them make that will save them from having to have extra dentist appointments after the holiday. Some Halloween treats are better for teeth than others, and other candies are particularly bad for your kids’ teeth.
Best Halloween treats
Although your kids are likely to be very excited about consuming as much sugar as possible, there are some yummy sugar-free candy options that they can enjoy as well. Although sugar-free candy doesn’t have the cavity-causing sugars of other candy, they can still contain acids that can damage enamel. So, as with all candy, your kids should enjoy in moderation and brush after eating!
Chocolate is a very popular type of candy during the Halloween season. It’s a relatively healthy option for your children’s teeth because it doesn’t stick to teeth as much as other candies do, and dark chocolate has less sugar than milk chocolate. Besides, the tannins in chocolate can also help fight off cavity-causing bacteria.
Worst Halloween treats
There are several lemon-flavored and sour candies that have particularly high levels of acid. Many kids like the “puckering” effect of these candies, but they can be especially damaging to teeth. The sour-tasting acid they contain can eat away at tooth enamel, causing cavities.
Caramels are tasty treats, but they tend to get stuck on your kids’ teeth. This means that the sugars in caramels stay on your teeth for a much longer period. As a result, cavity-causing bacteria have more time to much on these sugars, producing plaque.
Hard candy and jawbreakers are bad for your kids’ teeth for two reasons. One, if they are tempted to chew these candies, they can crack their teeth. Two, if they suck on them over a long period, the sugar stays on their teeth, increasing the risk of cavities.
Halloween is a fun holiday, especially for children, who crave candy and love collecting a huge stash of it. You can encourage your children to make better decisions about what candy they eat and how much of it, to protect their teeth. No matter what candy they eat, proper brushing, flossing, and regular dental care can help mitigate the effects of sugar overload.
Call Richard Hardt Family Dentistry to set up an appointment today, and get help caring for your kids’ teeth!