Are you worried that mass consumption of the “Halloween haul” will rot your children’s (and YOUR) teeth?
There are foods other than candy that can cause tooth decay, but don’t take this as permission to eat the whole bag!
You’ll be surprised to know – It’s not the sugar that rots your teeth! Tooth decay is caused by acid-producing bacteria in your mouth that feast on carbohydrates, be it sugar from candy or starch from wholesome foods, such as bread.
BUT, not all sweet treats are created equal when it comes to causing cavities.
When you chew sticky candies, such as caramels or taffy, candy gets stuck on the tooth’s surface and in between crevices. The longer the sugar is stuck to the teeth, the more time the bacteria have to feast and produce cavity-causing acid.
SO WHAT CAN WE DO?
> Choose candy that is not sticky and chewy. Avoid sweets like gummy fruit snacks, popcorn balls, caramel apples, and taffy.
> Limit consumption of sour candies that may contain acids (such as citric acid) to intensify the sour flavor. These acids can contribute to not only cavities – but dental erosion.
> Encourage children to ration their candy (such as 2-3 pieces a day, or 1 piece in a lunchbox, etc) followed by a glass of water and/or a thorough tooth brushing.
> Encourage children to eat a delicious meal prior to trick-or-treating, so that there will be less temptation to fill up on candy while they are making the rounds with the other ghosts and goblins on that special night.
Halloween is a great time for parents to think about their children’s teeth! Always encourage good oral health habits (and set an example!), including daily flossing, brushing at least twice a day, and visiting the dentist regularly. Follow these simple rules and you will be less likely to be haunted with dental decay!