With Halloween around the corner, chances are likely that kids (and a number of adults) will consume a large amount of candy. As the first of the big three holidays of the last quarter of the year, Halloween often begins the trend of winter cavities. This is especially true of children. In fact, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) reports that approximately 1 of every 5 children (within the age group of 2 to 19) have untreated cavities. What can be done to avoid this trend from affecting your child?
Change Candy Consumption Times
Although the number of sweets can have an affect on oral health, another idea to consider is how often the candy is consumed. Plaque accumulates on teeth in between meals if a person does not brush. The longer the gap is between eating sweets and brushing teeth, the more opportunity plaque-casuing bacteria has the damage tooth enamel. Hence, many dental experts recommend that Halloween sweets be eaten after dinner shortly before brushing teeth. This minimizes the effect of the sugars resting on your children’s teeth for long periods of time.
Beware of the Type of Candy Eaten
Concerning your teeth, all candies are not created equal. Some can cause more damage to your teeth others. There are two reasons why. The first is adhesion. Candies that are hard or gooey are more difficult to remove from teeth. They tend to adhere to enamel and have a propensity to get lodged in hard to reach places. Over time large colonies of bacteria build at the site and begin releasing large amounts of acids which deteriorates enamel and tooth. So it is best to avoid hard or chewy candies—especially high amounts of them.
Second is sugar content. More sugar means more plaque-causing bacteria. Therefore, during the Halloween season it is best to limit the amount of high-sugar candy your children eat. Additionally, when they do eat candy, it is best to have them brush their teeth shortly afterwards.
Winter Dental Checkup
With the holidays ahead, it can be hard to track what children are eating. Hence, scheduling a winter dental checkup is one way to make sure that cavities are prevented. IvyRose Family Dentistry provides comprehensive dental checkups year round. Our team promises to help you and your children avoid Halloween cavities.
But Douglass said the kind of candy you eat may matter less than the total amount of sugar in you eat. “The more sugar you have in your diet, the more bacteria you have in your mouth,” she said.
Eating sugar-free candy could have the opposite effect, she said. “From a tooth standpoint, sugar-free may actually help protect your teeth.”
Sugar-free foods don’t foster the growth of bacteria in the mouth like sugars do, so acid isn’t produced that damages tooth enamel.
But a 2011 study published in the British Dental Journal suggested that, over time, additives found in sugar-free food and drinks increase the risk of tooth erosion.
“The bottom line is, make sure your kids aren’t snacking on sweets continuously,” Douglass said. “This kind of wear and tear can lead to other serious problems and needs to be avoided.”
Pass it on: Lower the risk of cavities by eating sweets less often throughout the day.