Cavity-Prone Sweets To Avoid Following Halloween
If you ask any child what their favorite holiday is, they might say Halloween, because who doesn’t love candy? Even most parents find it difficult to resist spooky treats and sweets at Halloween. According to an American Dental Association survey, 94 percent of American children every year participate in trick-or-treating. It’s natural to want to pass down certain traditions and share them with your children, and trick-or-treating is no exception. When it comes to making healthier choices this Halloween, we can help you and your children navigate around the pitfalls of sugar overload and protect their beautiful smiles without having to schedule an appointment or find a new pediatric dentist for your child.
Here is a quick list of the worst candy, and the best candy, to help manage your children’s sugar exposure and expectations this Halloween.
The Worst Cavity-Prone Candy:
• Limit any candy that has sugar as its main or only ingredient, like candy corn. Be sure to give out this candy in moderation. When handing out candy, consider giving nuts or fruit along with the sweet treat. It will minimize the acids that cling to teeth, and then form into bacteria that cause cavities.
• Sour candies have high acid levels, which wreak havoc on tooth enamel. In young children, tooth enamel is quite soft, so this particular candy does more harm than good.
• Caramel, taffy or any candy that sticks to the hard surfaces of teeth is damaging. Even some granola bars, dried fruit and fruit roll-ups, masquerading as “natural or organic,” can have this sticky, chewy texture. Some other types of candy that you should limit or avoid at this time of year include gummy bears, worms, tootsie rolls and lollipops with gooey sticky centers.
• Hard candy takes a while to melt. As it melts, it allows the teeth to be drenched in sugar for quite some time.
• Avoid jawbreakers. The extreme hard texture can actually chip or break teeth.
The Best Tooth-friendly Candy:
• Chocolate melts in the mouth fast and therefore does the least amount of harm to teeth. Just be sure to avoid chocolate with anything chewy or sticky in the center. Peanut butter cups melt quickly, as long as your little ones have no peanut allergies.
• Sugar-free candy or candy made with xylitol is a good replacement for sugary treats. Some studies show that xylitol raises the pH level of the mouth and may help remineralize tooth enamel.
• Sugarless gum is also a good choice. The chewing action actually stimulates saliva production to remove sugar particles before they become acid-producing bacteria.
Other Tips to Limit Sugar Exposure
You can limit candy consumption this Halloween by watching your children’s sugar intake between meals. You can do this by going over the candy your children receive from trick-or-treating and reserve some of it for later. It’s the frequency of sugar consumption and not the quantity that puts children at risk for dental cavities.
If possible, have them eat their candy as a dessert after lunch or dinner. Also, drinking water after eating something sugary helps balance the pH levels in their mouths. If water is dull to the taste buds, another alternative is to allow them to chew sugarless gum to increase saliva so that the cavity-causing bacteria will wash away naturally.
With the help of these suggestions, you can better manage sugar before it manages you this Halloween season. Our goal is to keep your smile healthy throughout the holidays and establish healthy habits that will protect your smile, and the smiles of your family, for life.
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