Halloween, a kid's favorite holiday and dentist's worst nightmare. We spoke with a dentist to help sort through 'dental-friendly' candies.
"The worse treats tend to be sticky, chewy things. Those tend to be the worst because they can stick to the teeth and take hours before they desolve out of the mouth," according to Jade Miller, D.D.S. and President of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).
The worst cavity culprit? Sour candies.
"The sour candies are a double wammy in that they have the sticky, chewy part of it but they also now have that sour part that is very acidic and can dissolve and damage the tooth surface," says Dr. Miller.
Then what are the more 'dental-friendly' candies? Chocolate! Dr. Miller says chocolate dissolves from the mouth quickly and has properties that are more anti-cavity.
When in doubt, try sugar-free options. This could include gum, individual popcorn servings or lollipops.
Sometimes moderation is the best practice.
"Rather than snacking on small sugary treats all through the day, it's better to have a snack of these treats in a short period of time and then follow with plenty of water to dislodge any particles that can get stuck in the teeth," advises Dr. Miller.
Additional Halloween tips from the AAPD include:
- Before trick-or-treating, ensure children eat a well-balanced meal to reduce chances they will fill up on empty calories and sugar
- Determine beforehand the number of treats your child can keep; exercise portion control
- Sell the rest to a local dentist candy buy-back program your community may offer
- Make sure kids drink plenty of water after eating their treats
- Suggest they swish the water around in the mouth to help dislodge particles that can get stuck and encourage the Mouth Monsters to latch onto tiny teeth
- Snacks like apples and carrots are good to eat after candy because they help dislodge candy particles
- Remember, non-food favorites like temporary tattoos, stickers and glow-sticks are great alternatives
- And don’t let your young ones go to bed on Halloween night before brushing & flossing