The Halloween Edit – Your Guide to Tooth-Friendly Treats

Fall is finally here and it is sure to be a season packed with fun activities. Halloween parties, trick-or-treating and fall festivals are just a few of the many festive events you will find on your family calendar. These events are fun and should not be missed out on, but candy is inevitably a big part of them. So, I am here to help navigate your family through this sugar-filled season so you can choose the most tooth-friendly treats.

NOT ALL CANDY IS CREATED EQUAL

Let’s take a fun quiz to test your candy IQ. Depending on the consistency, some candy is broken down in your mouth faster than others.  So, when you are taking the quiz keep in mind it is best to find candy that dissolves easier because the longer sugar stays in the mouth the more likely it is to cause cavities.

Pick which one is the most tooth-friendly.

        1. A.  Tootsie Roll                                        B.  Hershey’s Kiss
        2. A.  MnM’s                                                   B.  Milk Duds
        3. A.  Sour Patch Kids                               B.  Sugar Free Gum
        4. A.  Starbursts                           B.  Reeces Peanut Butter Cups

Answers:

1. B. It is best to avoid sticky candy because these tend to stay trapped in the grooves of the teeth and are hard to get out. Tootsie Rolls, Starbursts, Airheads and Now and Later’s are all sticky candy to avoid.

2. A. Chocolate is a good choice because it will melt and dissolve naturally from the saliva in your mouth. MnM’s are a better choice than Milk Duds because they don’t have the sticky caramel inside.

3. B. Sugar free candy is a good alternative and while you are chewing it it will increase salivary production and naturally cleanse the mouth. Avoid acidic candies like, Sour Patch Kids because they are higher in acid content and break down the enamel faster.

4. B. Starbursts are one of the sticky candies to avoid like Tootsie Rolls. Reeces Peanut Butter Cups are a more tooth-friendly option because the chocolate and peanut butter will more naturally dissolve in the saliva.

My Top Tips

*Avoid sticky/gummy candy and treats because they will “stick” around in the mouth longer and are more likely to start the decay process. It is also important to remember if your child has any fillings, crowns, space maintainers or braces that sticky candies are notorious for pulling these things off.

*Avoid sour candy because it is higher in acid content and will break down the enamel faster.

FREQUENCY IS KEY

Limit the amount of times a day your child is consuming sweets. For dental purposes, It would be better if your child consumed ten pieces of candy in one sitting vs. eating those same ten pieces throughout the day. Try to limit sweets to once a day so their mouth is not constantly bathed in sugar the entire day.

WATER

After your child has had a sweet treat one of the easiest things they can do to protect their teeth is to swish and sip water. Of course, brushing and flossing would be ideal but, they probably don’t have their toothbrush with them while they are trick-or-treating however, they can easily keep a small bottle of water with them. Water will naturally cleanse the teeth and eliminate a lot of the sugar.

BRUSH & FLOSS

Whatever you do, don’t let your child go to bed without brushing and flossing. Make sure you help your child brush and floss or check behind them, especially at bedtime, to make sure they haven’t left behind any of those sweet treats.

NON-CANDY OPTIONS

Consider giving out mini bags of pretzels, goldfish or cheeseballs as a non-candy option. There is no rule that says you have to give out candy.

ENJOY

Last, but not least…. Enjoy! Teach your children that treats are just that, a treat. They are meant to be savored and because they aren’t an every day thing they will learn to appreciate them and to enjoy them in moderation.

Happy Fall!

Best,

Dr. B