Halloween will soon be over, but the Halloween candy may live on for a few days or weeks. While dentists typically agree that sugar increases tooth decay, many also appreciate that Halloween candy is typically OK for kids, as long as it’s eaten in moderation and parents follow some basic guidelines.
First, sugar does contribute to decay by providing food for bacteria that damages teeth. Most Halloween candy is high in sugar, but simply eating candy isn’t necessarily going to cause decay. Rather, the sugar remaining on the teeth long term contributes to decay. Therefore, eating sugary candy isn’t necessarily damaging, as long as the time spent eating candy is limited, and immediately followed by rinsing the teeth with water, and brushing as soon as possible.
Not all Halloween candy is created equally, either. Sour candies tend to have far more acid than sweeter candies. The acid is more damaging to tooth enamel than plain sugar, and should be avoided if possible. Candies that are sticky – such as caramels, gummies, and popcorn balls – are more likely to stick to teeth, and therefore more likely to resist brushing. Because they may get stuck on teeth, they are more likely to cause tooth decay.
If possible, try to moderate candy consumption by limiting hungry and cravings with other healthier food sources – rather than allowing candy binges, allow minimal candy intake immediately following another meal, so that the child is less likely to be hungry, and normal post-meal brushing is imminent.
While Halloween can be fun, and candy is typically OK, be sure to ensure that candy is enjoyed in moderation, and try to avoid the overly acidic/sour and sticky/gummy candies.
To find out more about the effects of sour candy contact Dr. Larry Lieberman and make an appointment 727-785-8017 or visit our website at www.dentist-lieberman.com.
Accepting patients from Safety Harbor, Palm Harbor, Clearwater, Dunedin, Tarpon Springs and all surrounding areas.