From candy corn and caramels to chewing gum and chocolate, Halloween is the one time of year when children can indulge in their favorite sugar-filled treats. Parents often worry about the damage Halloween candies cause to vulnerable teeth. While it’s okay to allow your little one to enjoy a few sweets, it’s important to establish rules to reduce the risk of decay and other dental problems. Follow these healthy Halloween candy dental tips to help protect your child’s smile.
Best and Worst Candies for Teeth
Many candies contain large amounts of sugar that can combine with bacteria in the mouth and contribute to the formation of cavities. It can be tough to avoid candy completely during the Halloween season. However, you can help your child make better choices when deciding which candies to eat.
Some of the best Halloween candy choices include:
- Dark Chocolate – Dark chocolate is one of the best candy options on Halloween not only for dental health, but overall health. Dark chocolate contains less sugar than milk chocolate and is also high in antioxidants.
- Smarties – These small, sweet candies are lower in sugar, fat, and calories. As long as you limit the number of Smarties that your child eats, these can be a fairly good choice for a Halloween treat.
- Tootsie Pops – With their flavorful outside coating and chewy center, Tootsie Pops are a kid-favorite. Children are less likely to overindulge when eating Tootsie Pops due to the amount of time they take to eat.
- Twizzlers – Twizzlers have been long hailed as a low-fat treat. Your child can eat a bag of the snack-size version without causing you guilt.
- Peanut M&Ms – Limiting your intake of delicious Peanut M&Ms can be tough but your child’s teeth will thank you. A snack-size bag is the perfect amount to calm cravings without harming the teeth.
Some of the worst Halloween candy choices include:
- Gummy Candy – Any type of sticky candy, such as gummy candies and taffy, can be hard to remove from the teeth. The longer the candy remains stuck to the tooth surface, the higher the risk of tooth decay.
- Sour Candy – Sour candies are not only sugary but also highly acidic. Harsh acids can eat away at tooth enamel causing the teeth to become more sensitive and increase the risk of cavities.
- Sugary Hard Candies – Sugary hard candies can harm teeth in several ways. Sucking on hard candies can lead to lengthened exposure to sugar. Biting into a hard candy can also crack a tooth.
Protect Your Children’s Teeth this Halloween
There are many ways parents can help keep their children’s teeth healthy, even during the Halloween season. First, remind your child to brush at least twice a day for a full two minutes using a fluoride toothpaste. This will help ensure that any sugars on the teeth are washed away. Flossing helps to remove any leftover candy particles stuck between teeth.
Have your child drink plenty of water when eating Halloween candy. Water helps to wash away sugars and food particles in the mouth. It also neutralizes acids to prevent enamel erosion. You will of course want to limit the amount of candy your child consumes. Just one to two pieces of Halloween candy a day is sufficient and can help prevent tooth decay.
Serve healthy snack options to help balance out the amount of sugar your child consumes. Stick with fresh produce such as carrot sticks, apple slices, or celery with a smear of natural peanut butter. You can also offer your child sugar-free chewing gum. Chewing sugar-free gum for about 20 minutes following the intake of sugar helps to increase saliva flow. The saliva neutralizes the pH level in the mouth and washes away harmful sugars.
Schedule a Visit with a Dentist, Largo FL
After Halloween, consider scheduling a visit with your family dentist. Regular trips to the dentist can help catch dental problems early to prevent decay and other issues from getting worse. Dental checkups and cleanings should be scheduled for every six months to maintain good dental health and wellness. Find a dentist to help maintain your family’s teeth at Bonham Dental Arts in Largo, Florida. Contact us here or give us a call today at 727-513-4658.