Which Halloween Treats Are Scary – and Which Aren’t So Bad?

Pediatric Dentistry 2 - Jacksonville, TX | All Smiles - Dr. Larry Folden

Halloween means candy – and sugary Halloween treats like candy can certainly cause cavities. Still, we don’t expect you to skip these treats. They’re a big part of what makes Halloween so fun!

The important thing is to follow some common-sense advice for consuming Halloween treats:

  • Don’t let your kids consume their whole stash at once . Don’t let them have more than a few pieces at a time. It’s best to treat candy as a special treat.
  • Keep candy out of sight . Store Halloween candy in a cabinet or a similar spot so that your kids can’t get to it that easily – or even see it. If they have to ask, it’ll be easier for you to keep track of how much they are eating.
  • Sort through your child’s candy together . Check out our list of Halloween treats that are especially hard on teeth. Consider eliminating those – or at least making sure your kids aren’t consuming too many of them.
  • Make sure kids brush and floss . Oral hygiene is always important – but especially if your kids are having more sugary treats than usual. Ideally, they’d brush and floss every time they have candy. if that’s not possible, ask them to rinse their mouths with water.

Our Jacksonville, TX dentists have provided a list of Halloween treats below, so you can see which ones are the toughest on tooth enamel. If you have any questions, call All Smiles at 903-374-4406.

Hard Candies Are Hard on Teeth

Hard candies like jawbreakers and suckers are especially tough on your kids’ teeth. Sugar itself doesn’t cause cavities; it’s the acids that form when the bacteria in your mouth eats sugar. Thus, treats that remain in your children’s mouths for extended periods are among the worst offenders for causing cavities because they give bacteria a good, long time to create the harmful acids. It’s especially important to brush, or at least rinse your mouth, after eating a treat like a sucker.  In addition, kids can chip or even break teeth by biting down on hard candy.

Skip Sticky & Sour Halloween Treats

Sticky candies like caramels and gummy bears are also especially damaging. Since they adhere to teeth, they give bacteria a better chance to turn them into enamel-destroying acids. They can also get stuck in between kids’ teeth, where they can be easy to miss when brushing or even flossing. Watch out for popcorn balls; they may contain kernels that can get caught in teeth and/or cause other dental damage.

Sour candies are among the worst Halloween treats, Not only are they sugary, they are more acidic than most other candies. Remember, acid is what causes cavities. In fact, it’s best to for kids to wait about 30 minutes after eating them before brushing. If they brush right away, they’ll brush the acids into their enamel.

Be Careful When It Comes to Crackers

If your children get snack packs of Goldfish crackers, potato chips, or similar snacks while trick-or-treating, be aware that they contain plenty of processed starch that bacteria will rapidly break down and turn into sugars. Also, crumbs and other food debris tend to stay in the mouth a long time. You only have to look at your child’s mouth filled with orange gunk to know that!

Best Choices Include Sugarless Treats & Chocolate

Chocolate is one of the least offensive options when it comes to cavities. This is especially true of dark chocolate. It has a high concentration of cacao, which is a good source of polyphenols, natural chemicals that can limit oral bacteria. In addition, they even neutralize microorganisms that cause bad breath and prevent some bacteria from turning sugar and starches into acid. Researchers have also identified a compound called CBH that they think may be useful in fighting decay. Milk chocolate has far less cacao and lots of added sugar.

Sugarless hard candies and gum are good Halloween treats too. They stimulate saliva production. Saliva helps wash away harmful acids and bacteria, and it contains minerals that strengthen tooth enamel. The chewing motion your child uses for sugarless gum may even help dislodge food particles.

Have a great Halloween! If you want to schedule a professional dental cleaning for your kids after they’ve enjoyed all of their Halloween treats, call All Smiles at 903-374-4406.

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