Halloween is right around the corner, which means scary costumes, spooky decorations, and plenty of candy. Although it’s one night out of the year, you don’t want Halloween to come back to haunt your child’s smile. While tooth decay may not happen overnight, candy weakens the enamel. Since the enamel can’t regenerate, a toothache can pop up in a few months. Your child doesn’t have to miss out on trick-or-treating to maintain a cavity-free smile. Your orthodontist has the must-have list of the best and worst candy.
Combat Tooth Decay
It can take a while for a cavity to form, depending on various factors. The slow process makes it easy to overlook the issue because it can take several months for the decay to reach deep within the tooth. Your child will have a heightened risk of weakened enamel during Halloween because acid levels in their mouth will be higher if they eat a lot of candy. One night of overindulging can lead to bad news at their next cleaning and checkup.
Best and Worst Halloween Candy
Although you might believe all candy is equally bad, some types are worse for teeth than others. It’s important to teach your child to be picky about the candy they eat to avoid cavities after Halloween.
- Chocolate: Chocolate is considered the best candy to maintain a healthy smile because it can be rinsed from the teeth easily. Brushing and flossing are often all it takes to remove chocolate residue to preserve the enamel.
- Sticky Candy: Gummy or sticky candies are difficult to remove from the teeth, especially from the crevasses of the molars. The enamel will be exposed to cavity-causing bacteria for longer. Not to mention, gooey candy can be a recipe for disaster if your child has braces.
- Hard Candy: Hard candies must be held in the mouth for an extended time, which bathes the teeth in sugar. Besides tooth decay, biting a hard candy can cause a broken or fractured tooth.
- Sour Candy: Sour candy is often sticky, but it’s also very acidic because it is coated in sugar, which is a double whammy for their smile.
- Gum: Research shows chewing sugarless gum can decrease the risk of tooth decay because it encourages saliva production.
Tips to Prevent Tooth Decay
In addition to choosing the right candy, your orthodontist has a few additional tips to keep cavities at bay, such as:
- Limit candy to 1-2 pieces per day.
- Eat their candy with a meal.
- Encourage brushing twice daily for 2 minutes each session.
- Encourage nightly flossing.
- Schedule a semi-annual cleaning and checkup.
Your child can enjoy every minute of Halloween while you rest easy, knowing their smile is protected from cavities.
About Dr. Aaron DeMaio
Dr. DeMaio earned his dental degree from the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine before continuing his training in orthodontics at the Tufts-New England Medical Center. As a member of the American Association of Orthodontists and many other professional organizations, he has the qualifications you can trust. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.