How Do Halloween Candies Affect Dental Health?
Halloween and candy go hand-in-hand – but for many children, that dynamic duo also includes cavities. As the Halloween festivities wrap up and children look forward to weeks of sugary snacks from their trick-or-treating haul, oral health should be top of mind.
It’s no surprise that eating higher amounts of sugar leaves teeth susceptible to decay – but exactly how does sugar damage your teeth? As sugar particles are broken down by “good” bacteria, the sugar converts into acid. Acid erodes enamel over time, which is the protective layer around your teeth. Weakened enamel makes it easier for “bad” bacteria to grow, causing cavities and decay.
The good news is that there are plenty of easy, actionable steps that can help ensure that your children can still enjoy their post-Halloween rewards without getting cavities. One of those steps comes from taking a closer look at the types of candies that your children are eating. Lighten the load on their teeth by helping them choose the right kinds of candy to indulge in. See below for an overview of how different types of Halloween candy impact dental health.
Good news for chocolate lovers: while sugar in general is not good for your teeth, chocolate candies are one of the best options to preserve dental health. The residue from chocolate washes off much easier and is not likely to get stuck in the crevices of your teeth. This reduces the likelihood that sugar (and any related acid) will linger in your mouth, preserving that protective layer of enamel.
Gummy candies have a sticky consistency that can easily cause pieces to get trapped between your teeth. They can also leave a sugary film on your teeth, which can eat away at enamel. Try to limit the amount of gummy candies that your child eats from their Halloween stash, and encourage brushing and flossing as soon as possible afterwards.
Kids love hard candies because they last much longer – but that’s also what makes them so dangerous for your oral health. Lollipops and other hard candies take much longer to dissolve, prolonging the amount of time that sugar particles are washing over teeth. Hard candies can also cause physical damage by causing chips and cracks in your teeth when biting down. Make sure these types of Halloween candies are eaten in moderation once trick-or-treating is done.
Any kind of sugar is dangerous to your oral health because it gets broken down and converted to acid. But sour candies are particularly risky because that “pucker” effect is often caused by a combination of acid and sugar, which introduces acid to teeth before sugar particles are broken down. If your children are particularly fond of sour candies, it’s a good idea to set their candy-eating time to after dinner (with brushing and flossing shortly thereafter).
While trick-or-treating might look a little different this year, there will still be plenty of Halloween candy to enjoy. Don’t let cavities ruin the fun! Keep your child’s oral health protected by limiting the types of candy they eat, as well as helping them keep up with brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash. Call Hinsdale Dental today to schedule a check-up and ensure that any post-Halloween cavities are caught and resolved as soon as possible.Return to Blog