Turning down free candy is nearly impossible, especially when you’re a kid. Dressing up and trick-or treating creates lasting memories for the whole family, but there’s nothing spookier than cavities in your teeth. That’s why it’s so important to teach your little ones about moderation and good dental hygiene.
But are there other things you can do to help their smiles stay bewitching? Here are answers to the most asked questions about Halloween candy:
1. Is it necessary to avoid sugar altogether?
A good time have these limited treats is after a large meal when saliva production is at its peak from breaking down your food. It's also great to drink a lot of water during and brush, floss and rinse directly after consuming so that sugar doesn't have time to break down enamel or promote bacteria growth.
2. Are there any Halloween candies my kid should avoid?
While one night of candy won’t hurt, eating candies over an extended period can cause cavities, and other oral health complications. Watch out for these candies!
• Hard candies that slowly dissolve in your mouth like jawbreakers, Jolly Ranchers or suckers can be especially harmful because of the amount of time the sugars sit on the tooth’s surface. Another huge concern with hard candies, like jaw breakers, is that they can chip teeth.
• Chewy candy like taffies, toffies, gummies and caramels can get stuck in the crevices of your teeth, and can continue promoting decay for hours or even days!
3. Are there any Halloween candies that are ok for teeth?
• Sugar-free candies and gums are best for adult and developing teeth. In fact, some of them actually encourage saliva production, which is the #1 defendant against cavities.
• Chocolate-based sweets, especially dark chocolate, rinse from teeth easily and in some cases have even been shown to provide beneficial antioxidants when ingested.
• Powdery candy, while sugar-based, dissolves quickly and don’t stick to teeth.
4. What are some alternative Halloween treats?
• Apples with yogurt are a good “sweet” snack that doesn’t coat the teeth in sugar. Apples are thought to be good for the teeth because the natural crunch disturbs plaque.
• Carrots, cucumbers and celery with dressing. Veggies aren’t the top choice for kids on Halloween but try out fun ways to serve up healthy alternatives.
• Crackers, popcorn and savory snacks come in festive fun-size packaging like Halloween candies do, but rinse from teeth more easily than sugary snacks. Be wary of sticky, marshmallow or caramel coated treats that stick to teeth.
While one night of candy probably won’t hurt, prolonged snacking can cause wear on tooth enamel. So long as parents take an active role in helping kids understand the healthy limitations of eating Halloween candy and the importance of good oral hygiene, this all hallows eve is sure to be a scream.