Every October, we celebrate a really important holiday – National Dental Hygiene Month! It’s a big deal at McCarl Dental Group, but for a lot of other families, another holiday overshadows this annual awareness month dedicated to oral health – Halloween. Kids go trick or treating and get bag loads of candy. It’s fun and candy is delicious, but it’s not great for oral and overall health. In this blog, you can learn more about the candies that are best and worst for teeth and how to help kids make good candy choices this Halloween. Don’t forget to bring kids to see us at McCarl dental Group to preserve their healthy smiles with regular children’s dentistry visits.
Top 3 Best Halloween Candies for Oral Health
All candy can be damaging to teeth, but some candies are better than others. Specifically, these three candies are less likely to damage your smile this Halloween:
- Chocolate – melt in your mouth chocolates, especially dark chocolates, don’t tend to stick to teeth as readily as other candies.
- Candy with nuts – nuts are healthier than other synthetic ingredients and sugars in most Halloween candy, so they’re better for overall health. Additionally, the grainy texture of nuts can help to prevent sticky foods from getting trapped in teeth.
- Gum – chewing sugar free gum is actually pretty good for teeth. It helps to pull stuck on food particles off of teeth and prevent damage.
Top 3 Worst Halloween Candies for Oral Health
Whether your child has a healthy smile or they struggle with cavities and other oral health issues, you may want to consider having them skip the following types of candy:
- Sticky candies – about 88% of cavities occur on the chewing surfaces of back teeth, and sticky foods are most likely to get trapped in the pits and grooves on the biting surfaces of teeth leading to cavities.
- Sour candies – sour or fruity candies are usually much more acidic. Acidic foods can eat away at tooth enamel, weakening it and increasing risk for cavities.
- Hard candies – these candies cause two issues. First, sucking on hard candies allows sugar to sit in the mouth for an extended time, prolonging your smile’s exposure to damaging sugars and plaque production. Second, if kids get impatient and bite into the hard candy, it poses a risk for breaking or cracking the enamel.
Helping Kids Eat Candy in Moderation
Even the three candies that are better for teeth aren’t necessarily good for your oral health or your general wellbeing. To help kids enjoy Halloween candy without increasing risk for cavities and oral health concerns, keep the following tips in mind:
- Dole it out – The best thing you can do is to make sure your kids are enjoying their Halloween candies in moderation. Allow them to eat one or two pieces each day rather than overindulging. You can even have kids earn their Halloween candy with homework or chores or give candy out as a reward.
- Eat it at meals – when we eat, oral bacteria consume food particles and produce an acidic biofilm called plaque that attacks teeth, leaving them vulnerable to damage and decay. Rather than allowing kids to snack on sweets all day reintroducing plaque to their smiles repeatedly, give kids one or more pieces at the end of their meals to avoid adding additional acid attacks.
- Buy it from them – Dr. Clayton McCarl and his family, as you can hear when watching the video linked to this post, used to let kids enjoy their candy on Halloween night. Then, they would buy the rest of their children’s Halloween candy from them. This made kids feel better about handing over their hard earned sweets.
Visit McCarl Dental Group for Preventive Dental Checkups & Teeth Cleanings
If it’s time for your or your child’s preventive dentistry visit, give our Greenbelt dental team a call to schedule an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you soon!