While your kids may have spent weeks deciding on the perfect Halloween costume and eagerly look forward to going out and collecting treats, you probably see things differently as a parent. Perhaps you’re concerned about safety or that your children will get cavities from eating so much candy at once.
The good news is that there’s nothing wrong with a little indulgence as long as you ensure that your kids brush and floss their teeth daily. However, it’s still important to understand how each type of candy affects the teeth so you can help your kids make good snacking choices.
Common Types of Halloween Candy and How They Affect Teeth
Most candy has sugar, which creates acid when it breaks down. If the acid sits on the teeth long enough, it can cause cavities. Below are some facts you should know about the most popular types of Halloween candy.
Chocolate: Most people love chocolate, regardless of the specific variety. When it comes to oral health, chocolate is a better treat than other types of candy because it washes off the teeth faster and easier. As for sugar content, dark chocolate is the best bet since it contains less than milk chocolate does.
Hard candy: This isn’t always the greatest choice for kids. When they suck on hard candy, it remains in the mouth longer and the sugar mixes in with saliva. It eventually coats the teeth and can become consumed by bacteria. Kids also run the risk of breaking their teeth when they bite into hard candy. We recommend limiting this type of candy and supervising your children while they eat it.
Popcorn balls: Any older child who wears braces should not eat popcorn balls as the kernels may become caught in brackets or wires or even break them. Children who don’t wear braces should still floss their teeth immediately after eating a popcorn ball. While it’s okay to have occasionally, keep in mind that this treat is hard, sticky, and sugary.
Sour candy: Liking sour foods and treats is an acquired taste that most children haven’t mastered yet. That is good news since sour candy is highly acidic. Eaten often enough, acidic treats can damage the outer enamel of a tooth surface and lead to cavities.
Sticky candy: Sticky candy, such as gummy bears, take longer to chew and can get stuck to the teeth. That makes it more difficult for your child to remove the particles when brushing and flossing. Unfortunately, this gives bacteria more time to damage your child’s teeth.
Consider Establishing a Daily Treat Limit
No parent wants to ruin the joy of Halloween for their child, but it’s important to set limits on treat consumption. When your child gets home with his or her stash, be sure to go through it together and sort the candy by type.
If you’re concerned your child doesn’t have the self-control yet to avoid eating too many treats at once, set a daily limit for amount and types of treats he or she can consume. You may even want to consider placing the candy out of reach and requiring your son or daughter to ask you for it each day.