Halloween candy is a given during this time of the year. Spending for Halloween this year is expected to reach an all time high of $8.4 billion. Unfortunately consuming lots of candy can cause both tummy and toothaches. Keep reading to for ideas on how to make this ghoulish holiday sweet and healthy.
How Does Candy Cause Cavities
When the decorations are stored away and the candy “loot bag” is emptied, children’s teeth will continue to pay the real and sometimes permanent cost. While sugar itself does not cause cavities, it does feed the cavity-causing bacteria. The bacteria found on teeth and gums consumes sugar and excretes an acid that decays tooth enamel.
How Sodas and Juices Affect Teeth
It’s great to have a treat or two at a party, but beware drinking sodas and juices regularly. Soda is highly acidic and can cause erosion of tooth enamel within a relatively quick period of time. One way to fight back is to sip water with your soda or rinse the mouth with water after drinking your pop.
Juices do double damage as they not only contain enamel-weakening acid, but also because most juices contain high levels of sugar. Save these beverages for special occasions, like Halloween.
How Halloween candy affects teeth
According to a poll conducted by Kidshealth.org, 60 percent of kids said it takes at least two weeks to munch their way through and finish their trick or treat haul.
Keep in mind, over the course of two weeks children are expected to consume an additional four and a half cups of sugar in addition to their regular meals. It’s no wonder that the cavity causing bacteria population can explode during this time.
The high-sugar and sticky caramel ingredients in certain candy bars stick to and in between teeth, and are difficult to clean off. Taffies, toffies, gummies and marshmallows are all candies that are difficult to clean off of teeth and are more likely to rest on hard to reach surfaces.
The sugar in jawbreakers, hard candy and suckers continuously drench teeth and gums with sugar for as long as it takes for the candy to eventually dissolve. If a child bites down on a hard candy, it’s possible to crack or chip a tooth.
There are safer candy alternatives. Sugar-free candy can promote saliva production. Chocolate bars that do not contain a sticky gooey center eventually dissolve and are also much easier to bush and floss away. Finally powdery candy, while practically pure sugar, dissolves quickly and can be rinsed away efficiently with a simple glass of water.
There are tons of fun alternatives to candy to celebrate Halloween without sugar. Inexpensive ideas on what to offer to trick-or-treaters:
- Halloween themed erasers or pencils
- Glow necklaces
- Small toys like balls or plastic rings
Ideas for managing the candy haul at home:
- Create a “Candy Bank” and allow kids a certain number of candies per day or week as a treat
- Keep candy in a place where unsupervised and continuous eating cannot occur
- Do a swap of candy for another fun item
Jefferson Dental serves younger patients with dental care and treatment tailored to their needs from our dentists who accept PPO insurances, Medicaid and Chip. They make our smaller patients comfortable and relaxed during an exam or treatment. From all of us at Jefferson Dental Care, we wish you all a happy and healthy Halloween!