No Tricks, All Treats: Tips for a Cavity-Free Halloween
5 Tips for a Cavity-Free Halloween
Avoid sticky candies
Candies that are sticky and chewy tend to be the worst option for children’s teeth; especially for teeth that are still “coming in” around that 6-year age range. Caramel, taffy, gummies, and any other candies that may send your child’s teeth on a chew-fest are best to stay away from. Because these candies are so adhesive, they can get stuck in between teeth and lead to tooth decay if a proper dental hygiene routine is not in place. Additionally, these candies are even worse news for children with braces as they can damage brackets or wires. Hard candies, such as jawbreakers as the name suggests, may also be best to stay away from, as they can crack your teeth and make them work over-time if not careful.
Opt for softer candies
Consider offering your children a trade for candies that are better for their teeth. Chocolate is one of the absolute best candies for your teeth and chances are, your child may prefer these softer candies compared to the harder, chewier ones. Although all candy is made up of sugar, and you definitely don’t want to be the parent offering fruit as a trade for candy, soft candies such as chocolates are a better option. Think peppermint patties and peanut butter cups — the sugar in these candies don’t cling to teeth for very long and they’re easily washed away with water and saliva. They are much easier to chew than their stickier alternatives and there’s no risk of damaging your teeth.
Refrain from candies that take a while to finish
Whenever we eat or drink anything sugary, the bacteria inside of our mouth works hard to break this sugar down. In the process comes acid formation. Acid works to destroy tooth enamel which can lead to tooth decay over time. For this reason, it is best to go for candies that are easily consumable within one or two bites. When it comes to how bad a candy is for your teeth, frequency of exposure is much more harmful than the quantity consumed. Jolly ranchers and lollipops, for example, take a much longer time to consume than the standard Kit Kat, which means your teeth are left exposed to acid attacks for longer periods of time. These candies also allow sugar to linger in the mouth and feed bad oral bacteria.
Consider swapping for non-candy alternatives
A successful night of trick-or-treating can mean your child has candy that will last for days, or possibly even weeks depending on how much they’ve received. In order to combat this issue, consider swapping candy for much softer and safer alternatives, such as cake or cookies. Store-bought sweets from a bakery can pose less threat to your child’s teeth than the previously mentioned hard and sticky candy. You may even want to consider baking your own sweets at home with sugar alternatives, such as Xylitol. This can be a fun activity between you and your child and may become a family Halloween tradition.
Take extra care
See Halloween as an opportunity to ensure that your child’s dental routine is up to par. The bottom line is that sweets can lead to cavities and even tooth decay if a proper dental hygiene routine is not in place. Your child should be brushing their teeth for at least two minutes, twice per day with a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Flossing is equally as important and should be done at least once per day. Don’t forget that a proper diet is one of the most important factors when it comes to your teeth; eating foods that are high in calcium, as well as fiber-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables, can work wonders for your teeth.