This time of year, dentists start to get a bad reputation. They’re portrayed as monsters who want to replace every treat with chewing gum and toothbrushes. That isn’t true; dentists hope as much as anyone that people will enjoy themselves! They just want people to know how to prevent cavities after Halloween is over.
In that spirit, it’s good to know how it is that sweets cause dental problems. As it turns out, some are better for your teeth than others. Here are a few things you should know about which candy to pick for your child.
Why Too Much Candy Can Cause Problems
Sugar doesn’t just feed us; it also feeds the bacteria in our mouths. These bacteria secrete an acid that erodes teeth. Acid buildup leads to tooth decay. The key takeaway is the more sugar your child eats, and the longer it stays around, the more cavities they’ll have.
With that in mind, let’s have a look at some common candies, organized from best to worst.
Chocolate is the most common Halloween candy there is and, fortunately, is probably the best one for your child’s teeth. Chocolate melts quickly and washes away easily, so it doesn’t linger in the mouth very long. Dark chocolate also has less sugar than most sweets, so if your child doesn’t mind something a bit bitter, try nudging them in that direction.
#2: Sticky or Gummy Candies
Gummy candies are great at wedging themselves in hard-to-reach places and usually take a very long time to chew, meaning they’ll stay in your child’s mouth for much longer. This means they’re more likely to contribute to poor dental health.
#3: Sour Candies
Many foods aren’t great for your teeth, but these actually taste like tooth decay. Sour candies are usually coated in citric acid, the same chemical that makes lemons tart, which can erode your teeth over time. Add to that that they’re usually also gummies, and you have a perfect storm of dental terror.
#4: Hard Candies
Hard candies need to sit in the mouth for a long time until they can dissolve, which means that the sugar stays around for longer. The most common ones are also sour, so they share all those hazards as well. Finally, they can crack your child’s teeth if they aren’t careful, meaning they could sustain damage that dental work is needed to repair. All these factors make hard candies some of the most dangerous to your child’s teeth.
The key is to pair whatever treats your child has with good dental hygiene. Have your child drink lots of water to wash down the sugar, and make sure they brush their teeth after eating. With that, any of these sweets should be fine in moderation.
About our Practice
At Cherokee Children’s Dentistry, we want our patients to feel special. We have four pediatric dentists on staff and an experienced dental team behind them to make sure every single child gets the time and attention they deserve. All our pediatric dentists are board certified, meaning they’ve completed years of training after dental school to ensure they can offer the highest standard of care. If you have questions about how to take care of your child’s teeth this Halloween, we can be reached at our website, or by phone at (770) 479-1717.