Many people consider Halloween the ‘spooky time of year,’ when ghosts, witches, and goblins readily frighten anyone they can. But the Halloween season always holds rank as the ‘sweetest time of the year,’ when kids of all ages consume far more candy in a matter of days than they should the entire year. Candy damages the teeth but dressing up and trick-or-treating is all a part of the Halloween experience for children. Do not deny your child Halloween traditions. Instead, monitor their candy consumption.
Type of Candy
Consider the type of candy your child eats for their Halloween round-up. It makes a big difference in the effects it causes to the teeth.
Hard candy damages teeth more than candy bars, chocolates, and other types of sweet treats. Sugar sits on the teeth for extended periods when a child sucks on hard candy, like suckers, peppermint, or butterscotch.
Chewy candy like taffy and gummy worms break down enamel quickly. Chewy candy becomes stuck between the teeth. Saliva usually cannot wash away the candy. It then becomes trapped and then produces bacteria that lead to cavities.
Cookies, cakes, candy corn, and similar sugar snacks are loaded with sugar. This increases saliva in the mouth, which creates bacteria that lead to cavities. Sour candies are very acidic. They break down tooth enamel slowly over time.
Dentists recommend offering sugar-free candies and snacks during Halloween. These candies reduce worry for parents and reduce the odds of a hyper kid on Halloween night. Sugar-free candy stimulates saliva production, reducing the acid that forms in the form that contributes to cavities. Sugar-free snacks like cakes, hard candies, and chocolates curb the sweet tooth and kids will not know the difference in the taste!
How Much Candy?
It is okay to have fun during Halloween and that means offering kids some treats! The amount of candy that your little one should consume varies by age and other factors. The key is remembering that Halloween is a special occasion; treat it as such. Never allow candy consumption to go on for days on end.
Time to Eat Candy
Yes, there are right and wrong times to eat candy, at least if protecting your child’s teeth is important. Offer candy with meals or shortly after a meal. The saliva produced while eating helps ward off the bacteria that causes the acid that feeds cavities. Never allow your child to snack on candy or sweet treats throughout the day.
Halloween is a good time to replace your child’s toothbrush. Let your child help pick the toothbrush they will use. This encourages them to brush their teeth. Remember, the ADA and dentists around the globe recommend your child brush their teeth twice per day, every day. Help smaller children (8 years old and younger) brush their teeth if they cannot efficiently do it themselves.