Eating lots of sweets at Halloween is tempting, but many parents feel the familiar pull of guilt when they see the horde of candy their children stash away each Halloween. But how much is too much? And does a few extra candy bars really have a lasting impact on children's teeth?
In an email interview for this article, pediatric dentist, Dr. John Dodes, said he believes moderation is the key and that indulging a little on a holiday is fine. But, he urged parents to not let children overdo it.
"Enjoying Halloween candy isn’t going to be painfully detrimental to your child’s oral health," said Dr. Dodes, "but generally speaking, it is important that as parents we supervise our children and monitor their sugar in-take. You don’t have to ruin Halloween with a 'no candy' rule. Everything in moderation is fine."
When the idea of moderation isn't followed, tooth decay can occur. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says tooth decay affects children in the United States more than any other chronic infectious disease. This decay can be caused by poor eating habits and equally poor dental care. The CDC says that tooth decay can cause pain and infection and can hamper everyday activities like eating, talking, playing and learning.
Dr. Dodes, also the author of ”Healthy Teeth: A User’s Manual” said there are some great ways to keep children's teeth (and whole mouth) healthy before, during, and after holidays like Halloween. He urged parents to get kids motivated to take care of their own teeth by first and foremost setting a good example.
In the interview, he said that when kids see their parents brushing, flossing, and rinsing, they are more likely to want to do it themselves. He also was very impressed with kid-centric products like Listerine's Smart Rinse mouthwash.
He said, "Smart Rinse is great in the eyes of parents and dentists as it strengthens teeth 99 percent better than brushing alone and has fluoride which provides cavity protection.