Halloween is almost here. Next week, the streets will be filled with young children dressed in costumes going door to door in search of candy. While trick-or-treating is undoubtedly a fun ritual for kids, the candy they receive can wreak havoc on their teeth. It’s crucial that you take the proper steps to prevent a sugar overload that may lead to cavities for your children.
It’s perfectly fine to let your kids indulge in some sweet treats after Halloween, but you should set some guidelines regarding how this candy gets consumed. One easy way to reduce the risk of post-Halloween cavities is to limit your children’s consumption of candies that are particularly damaging to their oral health. This, along with making sure your kids maintain good oral hygiene habits while eating all of their candy, can go a long way towards keeping their teeth healthy.
The Best Halloween Treats for Your Kids
If your kids are chocolate lovers, you’re in luck. Chocolate candies are one of the best Halloween options for them to eat because the sugary residue from chocolate rinses off your children’s teeth more easily than other types of candy.
Dark chocolate is typically better for your kids’ teeth than milk chocolate since it has a lower sugar content. Most chocolate treats will be fine to give to your kids. However, try to avoid chocolate candy containing a sticky filling such as caramel or nougat.
Other Halloween treats that will cause relatively minimal damage to your children’s teeth include:
- Sugarless gum
- Peanut butter cups
What Halloween Candy Should My Kids Avoid?
While chocolate and pastries represent the least harmful options for your children’s teeth, the following types of candy should be avoided if at all possible:
- Hard candies – Jolly ranchers, jawbreakers, sucking candy, lollipops and other types of hard candy are some of the worst options for your children’s teeth. When eaten properly, they dissolve in your mouth slowly, which causes the sugar in these candies to spend a long time on your teeth. If your kids get impatient and try to bite down in these candies, it can result in a chipped or cracked tooth.
- Sticky or chewy candies – Caramel, taffy, gummy bears and other types of sticky or chewy candy are also very bad for your children’s teeth. These items get stuck along the surface and in the grooves between your teeth, making them hard to remove even with diligent brushing. As a result, your teeth are exposed to this sugar for a very long time, increasing the likelihood of decay.
- Sour candies – Sweet Tarts, Sour Patch Kids, Nerds, Skittles and other sour candies are highly acidic. As a result, they are more likely to damage your tooth enamel (the protective surface layer of your tooth). Ultimately, this will increase the risk of tooth decay.
Tips for Minimizing the Damage of Halloween Candy
Dr. Khavari recommends the following tips to help you minimize the risk of cavities while your children eat their Halloween candy:
- Go through the bucket of candy and remove all of the most harmful items before your children are allowed to eat anything.
- Set strict limits on the number of pieces of candy your kids can eat each day.
- Only allow your children to eat their candy after meals since the increased saliva production while you eat will help rinse the sugar from their teeth.
- Establish a set amount of time (ideally no more than 2-3 weeks) during which your kids can eat their Halloween candy. After this time period, discard or give away any candy they have left.
- Make sure your kids brush their teeth shortly after eating their Halloween candy.
- Schedule a dental cleaning with Dr. Khavari for about 3-4 weeks after Halloween. This will ensure any plaque accumulated from eating all of this candy will be removed before cavities develop.
Schedule an Appointment with Our East Houston Pediatric Dentist
At Love Brushing Dentistry, we offer pediatric dentistry services to children of all ages. Dr. Khavari understands the unique oral health concerns impacting kids, and she will help ensure your children’s teeth remain healthy during this crucial time in their development.
Please contact Love Brushing Dentistry using the form on this page or call 713-490-2088 today to schedule a dental cleaning. We serve patients in Pasadena, Baytown, Channelview and throughout East Houston.