With Halloween just around the corner, kids everywhere are gearing up to flaunt their best disguise and hit the neighborhood, knocking on doors to try to top last year’s haul of candy. As most parents know, the treats can actually be the biggest trick of all.
Sugar is a known major cause of tooth decay and cavities. Long after you child’s pumpkin has been emptied, the effects of their spoils could be seen by their dentist. Sugar and plaque will lurk in the crevices of your child’s teeth and cause cavities. If not removed by careful brushing, bacteria in the mouth will feed on the sugars and turn them into acid. This acid then attacks tooth enamel and causes tooth decay, a.k.a. cavities.
Allowing your kids to consume their candy in moderation is the key. To avoid a dentistry fright fest, knowing which candies are the best and worst will help keep your kids on track. Topping the list of worst candies for your teeth would be anything sticky. Caramels, taffies, gummies and the like stick to everything in your mouth. A close second would be any type of hard candy, lollipops, jawbreakers etc… while they won’t stick to your teeth, they take a long time to dissolve and are virtually a sugar bath for your teeth. Sour candies are highly acidic, if they make you pucker, they will have an erosive effect on your teeth. On the “not so bad” list would be chocolate without any sticky fillings, and other treats that can be eaten quickly. Sugar-free gum may be the best treat this Halloween season because it leaves no sticky residue, and it is sweetened with xylitol–a natural sugar the bacteria is unable to form plaque on.
Just remember, consuming candy in moderation and maintaining good oral hygiene, especially remembering to floss the sticky residue from between the teeth is an important aspect of saving your children from being haunted by decay long after their candy is gone.