Trick or Teeth! Halloween can play some major tricks on your child’s teeth if you’re not careful. We don’t discourage anyone from treating their sweet tooth this time of year, but we want to help make Halloween not so scary for parents who care about their children’s oral health. Here are some tricks we have up our sleeve on how to keep their child’s teeth happy and healthy without taking the fun out of Halloween.
What Is The Worst Candy For My Child’s Teeth?
We can all agree that candy simply isn’t good for teeth, but some candies are worse than others – especially if your child has braces. Here’s our list of the “scariest” candies most likely to give your dentist nightmares:
- Sticky, Chewy, or Gummy Candy- Beware of sticky candy! The stickier the food is, the longer it will adhere to your child’s teeth and the more likely it is to be left behind, even after brushing. This gives bacteria more time to do their dirty work, making your child’s teeth more prone to cavities the longer candy is stuck in between your child’s teeth. If your child has braces, chewing on sticky candy can lead to broken brackets and more trips to the orthodontist. Some sticky candies you should pass on if your child has braces are taffy, caramels, Tootsie Rolls, gummy bears, Starbursts, and butterscotch to name a few.
- Sour or Acidic Candy- It’s the tart and tangy candy that seems to be all fun and games until they break down enamel and create lasting damage to your teeth. Sour Patch Kids, War Heads, Air Heads, Sour Punch Straws, and other sour candies can make your child more prone to tooth decay due to the acids breaking down their tooth enamel. The more frequently kids have these treats the more likely this damage is to occur.
- Hard Candy- Hard candies like Jolly Ranchers and Tootsie Roll Pops are bad for your teeth due to the amount of time that it takes to suck on the candy before it’s gone. Your child’s teeth are essentially swimming in sugar for an extended period of time, which means an increased risk of tooth decay. Candies that are finished quickly are better for your child’s teeth since the sugar has less time to linger. Not to mention chewing on hard candy can take a toll on both your child’s teeth and their orthodontic appliances.
What Are The Best Candies For My Child To Eat?
So you’re probably wondering, “What candy can my kids eat?”. Candy certainly doesn’t do your child’s smile any favors, but your kids will have a not-so-scary dental visit if they eat more of these candies that are less likely to do damage:
- Chocolate and Candy Bars- Chocolate is a better alternative to indulge in since it’s less likely to stay behind after you brush and generally has less sugar than sticky and acidic candies. There are countless chocolate bars to choose from like white, dark, or nutty chocolate bars of all shapes and sizes. There are even some health benefits to a small daily dose of dark chocolate! According to Medical News Today, studies have shown that dark chocolate can decrease the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. The antioxidants and minerals found in dark chocolate contribute to the variety of health benefits this sweet treat can give you if you care to indulge.
- Sugarless Gum and Candies- Though you need to be aware of artificial flavoring, sugarless gum and other candies tend to be less sticky and not as hard or acidic as other candies you’ll find in the candy aisle. They also clearly have less sugar content, which could save you the stress of a late-night sugar rush many trick or treaters have. Sugar-free candies are a great alternative for children with diabetes and also have less carbs, fat, and calories than traditional candy.
Treat Your Child’s Sweet Tooth At Meal Time
The best time for your child to indulge in their sweet treats is following their lunch or dinner. This is when saliva production is the highest. The increase in saliva does your teeth a favor by preventing acid buildup along with rinsing away food particles. This is a healthier alternative than eating candy throughout the day which allows plaque to build up and rest on teeth for longer periods of time, which can lead to cavities.
Brush and Floss Your Fangs
Everyone knows the golden rule of brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing each night, but your child’s smile will need a little extra care this time of year! One way to make brushing fun for your kids this Halloween is giving your child a new toothbrush in their favorite color once the trick or treating has come to a close. When your child has had their treats for the night, give them their new toothbrush and remind them how to keep those fangs clean as a whistle. Brushing each tooth in small circles on the front, back and top can be a little tricky for kids. Supervising and brushing your teeth with your child can make brushing both fun and thorough.