October 11, 2022
Everyone knows that candy is bad for children’s teeth, but at Halloween, sweets start to seem unavoidable. Halloween candy isn’t just about feeding a sweet tooth, it’s about the memories children make that’ll last a lifetime. Making those memories while helping your child protect their oral health is a delicate balancing act. Here are three tips to help you strike that balance.
Tip #1: Control the Quantity of Candy
Candy damages our teeth because of its sugar content. Sugar feeds the bacteria in your child’s mouth, and they produce acid that can lead to erosion. The equation is pretty simple: more sugar equals more acid.
Preventing tooth decay is much easier than repairing it, which is why limiting your child’s sugar consumption is so important. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Here are a few ways to have a fun Halloween with fewer cavities:
- Try savory Halloween treats, like roasted pumpkin seeds.
- Visit fewer houses and make the ones you do visit feel more like an adventure. Try giving your kids a treasure map to follow that leads to the houses of trusted friends who can reward them with their favorite treat.
- Let your kids trade candy to you for prizes, like a small toy.
Talk to your kids about what they’d like to do this Halloween and see if they’d be willing to try these compromises.
Tip #2: Avoid Candy That Lingers
Sweets feed the bacteria in your child’s mouth, and the problem worsens the longer it remains there. For that reason, sticky and gummy candies are disastrous for your children’s dental health. These can stick to enamel, giving the bacteria plenty of time to flourish. Hard candies have the same issue, with the added hazard of potentially cracking your child’s teeth if they bite down.
You can encourage your child to drink lots of water; this washes down the sugar, limiting the damage it can do. You can also nudge them towards candies that don’t get stuck in their mouth; chocolate, for instance, is a great treat that melts away quickly.
Tip #3: Avoid Sour Candy
Sugar is bad for our teeth because it leads to acid buildup, but some sweets cut out the middleman. Sour candies are often coated in crystals made of citric acid, which can also contribute to tooth decay. To make matters worse, most sour candies are sticky and packed with sugar. If possible, steer your children away from them.
Halloween can do a lot of damage to your children’s teeth, but it doesn’t have to. If you keep these tips in mind, you can make memories and protect their dental health.
About the Author
Dr. Lawrence J. Adam, DMD has served as a family dentist in the Worthington, PA area for over 15 years. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine in 2004 and continues his education to this day. If you have questions about your family’s oral health, Dr. LJ Adam can be reached at his website, or by phone at (724) 297-3446.
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