It’s that time again, and before you know it a flood of princesses, pirates, and ghosts will be ringing your doorbell. And what are they looking for? Candy, of course. Halloween candy can be rough on kids’ teeth, including your kids. Dr. Kiran Gill at Natural Smiles in Louisville, KY is happy to offer these tips for a teeth-friendly Halloween.
Time Plus Sugar Equals Cavities
It would be wonderful if children preferred sugar-free candy… but that’s not going to happen. Sugar is a cavity-causer because of some of the bacteria that live in the mouth. Those bacteria combine with saliva to produce a thin, sticky film called dental plaque.
Plaque forms on the gum line around the teeth and keeps those bacteria in close contact with the teeth. The bacteria eat the sugar in Halloween candy and other foods. They excrete acid that begins to eat away at tooth enamel and to irritate the gums.
Plaque is soft and easily removed by brushing and flossing. However, it starts to form again within 24 hours after being removed. It’s likely that your kids’ Halloween “haul” will last a lot longer than a day.
The longer that a sugar source remains in the mouth, the greater the opportunity for cavities.
Many preferred Halloween treats are sticky – caramels, gummies, and popcorn balls, for instance. The sticky candy can linger in the tiniest crevices and grooves in teeth which makes them very hard to brush away. That’s not to say it can’t be done, but it usually takes more thorough brushing. Getting kids to brush thoroughly is something that almost every parent struggles with.
Sour candy is another Halloween offender. Sours have significant acid content all on their own, and there’s a tendency to hold them in the mouth for long periods of time. That puts acid in contact with teeth and gums.
Believe It Or Not, Chocolate Is More Tooth-Friendly
Chocolate tends to dissolve much more quickly than sticky candies and it’s not particularly acidic. Traces of chocolate on and between the teeth are easily removed by drinking liquids and by brushing and flossing. For those reasons, chocolate is the preferred choice for kids at Halloween.
Obviously, no parent is going to allow a child to eat piece after piece of candy. Save the Halloween treats for times when your child will be brushing soon – as an after-dinner treat, for instance.
You may be able to arrange a swap – their sticky candies for chocolate. That will also limit their exposure to the worst Halloween offenders.
Don’t Forget The Cleanings And Examinations
Regular dental cleanings and examinations are your insurance against you child developing serious dental issues. Your dental hygienist will remove every trace of plaque, and Dr. Kiran Bell of Natural Smiles in Louisville, KY will conduct a thorough examination to detect any tiny problems before they become big problems.
Keep your Halloween teeth-friendly, and protect your children’s teeth by scheduling an appointment at Natural Smiles in Louisville, KY. Call our office at 502-785-8695.