It’s that time of year again where doorsteps throughout the neighborhood are visited by tiny vampires, goblins, and ghouls. This Halloween, as you go from door-to-door with your little one, your kids’ dentist in Tigard, Tigard Family Dental would like to let you know what candy really is the worst and best for your children’s teeth. Know that no candy is great for oral health, but some are definitely better than others. Here is what to watch out for as your children get their treats this year.
Sticky And Gooey Is The Worst
One of the biggest things to watch out for is any candy or sweets that stays on the teeth for a long time. That’s why sticky and gooey candies are some of the worse offenders, as these types can get stuck between teeth and can cover the surfaces of teeth. When this happens, it causes oral bacteria to grow, and this bacteria is what causes decay and cavities. So for good dental health, we recommend avoiding or keeping your child’s intake low of candy like caramel, taffy, and gummies.
Beware The Sours
Candy with sour flavors are particularly bad for little ones’ teeth, as the citric acids that make those sour tastes can wear away at tooth enamel. As young children have softer enamel in their teeth, trying to keep this type of sweet to a minimum is best. It is also important to remember to wait at least a half an hour after eating sour candy before you start to brush their teeth. If you do not wait, you could actually be harming their teeth by brushing away your enamel with all those sugary acids that have built up. Rinsing the mouth with water after eating sour candy can also help minimize such acid buildups.
Watch Out With Lollipops, Jawbreaker, And Hard Candies
Candies that take a long time to dissolve in the mouth, like hard candy, lollipops, or jawbreakers, can end up immersing teeth in a continuous bath of sugar. The lengthy amount of time that these sweets are in the mouth allows oral bacteria to have plenty of time to get absorbed. In addition, these harder candies can chip or break teeth if they are bitten down on too hard. Again, getting your kids to rinse their mouths with water after these types of treats can cut down the acid and bacteria levels.
Dissolving Rapidly Sometimes Is Best
Some candies, like Pixy Stix are basically pure sugar, which is never great for mouths, but at least there is no chewing. These candies are often just poured right onto the tongue, meaning they dissolve fast and do not get stuck between teeth.
Some better options for kids’ teeth are items like chocolate, which melts quickly and dissolves easily in the mouth. Purer chocolate, like those without nougat or creamy fillings, don’t stick to teeth like other candy bars might. Chocolate can also have calcium in it, which can actually help to protect tooth enamel. Candy that comes pre-portioned, like Peanut M&Ms, are also a better choice as they have a bit of nutritional value, especially if you offer a set amount to kids. Sugar-free treats, even those that are hard candies, can also be a good choice, as they help to stimulate saliva in the mouth. Having more saliva, which contains minerals and proteins, can help fight germs and limit tooth decay.
If you have any further questions about Halloween candy and children’s teeth, please contact our Tigard dental office at 503-968-2901.