Halloween is arriving soon. It's a fun-filled holiday that children really enjoy, especially after going around their neighborhood trick-or-treating, then arriving home to cherish their large assortment of candy.
But dental practitioners aren’t nearly as enamored with Halloween, because they know the possible ramifications of eating candy. It not only can create damage to the teeth and gums, but also possibly to a child's overall health.
Having healthy teeth and gums has an impact that goes far beyond the mouth. Poor oral hygiene can lead to cavities, periodontal disease and infection, which can impact a patient's heart, lungs, and entire body.
5 tips from Western Dental
1. Choose candy carefully: Try to avoid hard candy, such as lollipops, and other sweets that stay in the mouth for a long time. These candies increase the risk for tooth decay.
2. Avoid chewy candy: Chewy, sticky treats – such as caramels or gummies – are particularly damaging because they are high in sugar. These candies can spend a prolonged amount of time stuck to teeth and are more difficult for saliva to break down.
3. Chocolate is preferable: Chocolate dissolves quickly in the mouth and can be eaten easily, decreasing the amount of time sugar stays in contact with the teeth.
4. Eat Halloween candy only after mealtime: Parents should avoid letting their kids snack on candy throughout the day. Saliva production increases during meals and helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and helps rinse away food particles.
5. Take preventive steps: Drinking water intermittently helps to keep the sugar from resting in the grooves of the teeth. Brushing and flossing the teeth thoroughly before going to bed is crucial when eating any type of candy.
John Luther, DDS, is the chief dental officer of Western Dental.