Here come the trick or treaters! Those little princesses, pirates, and cowboys are looking for just one thing – candy. If you have children, you’re probably concerned about the impact of all that sweet stuff on their teeth. Take heart! With these tips from Dr. Steve Edwards at Advanced Dental Associates in San Antonio, TX, Halloween candy doesn’t have to cause problems.
A Sticky Situation
You probably aren’t crazy about the idea of your children scarfing down loads of sugar. That’s a battle every parent faces this time of year. When it comes to their teeth, though, sugar really isn’t the problem.
There are bacteria in the mouth that form a thin, sticky film called dental plaque. Plaque collects on the gum line around the teeth and keeps those bacteria close contact with tooth enamel and gums. The bacteria use the sugar in foods and beverages as fuel and produce acid. That acid is what attacks tooth enamel and irritates the gums.
Sticky Halloween candy such as caramel, toffee, and popcorn balls lodge in the tiny grooves in the teeth as well as between teeth. That gives the bacteria a steady source of energy to do their dirty work unless the traces of candy are promptly removed by thorough brushing and flossing.
You might have let out a sigh when you read that. Most parents struggle to get their kids to brush thoroughly. There are two tactics you can use to diminish the impact of sticky candy on kids’ teeth – decreasing the amount of those candies, and timing when your children consume them.
Let’s Make A Deal
When it comes to the impact on children’s teeth, chocolate is a much better choice than the sticky candies mentioned above. Chocolate dissolves fairly easily in the mouth, and the sugar is washed off the teeth by saliva and beverages. Traces of chocolate are also much easier to brush away.
Dark chocolate actually contains substances that inhibit bacterial growth in the mouth. That makes dark chocolate a much better choice, teeth-wise.
With that in mind, consider swapping chocolate for that problem-causing sticky Halloween candy. This isn’t a perfect strategy by any means, but reducing the amount of candy left on the teeth is a good idea.
When it comes to reducing the amount of time that a sugar source is left in the mouth, timing is crucial. Try to arrange for candy-eating for times when your children will be brushing their teeth fairly soon. After dinner is good choice.
Here’s another option to safeguard your children’s teeth – alternative Halloween treats. In recent years, concerned parents have begun handing out stickers, temporary tattoos, bubbles, glow sticks, “spooky” accessories, and other inexpensive items that kids love. If you follow that trend, you may have alternative treats left over that you can swap for your children’s treats.
Why Take Chances?
By following these tips to decrease the problems that Halloween candy can create for your kids’ teeth, things should go well this fall. But just to be on the safe side, consider scheduling dental cleanings and examinations for your children – and for you and your spouse, if either of you has a sweet tooth!
Call Advanced Dental Associates in San Antonio, TX at 210-819-5233 to arrange an appointment.