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Halloween Candy: A Dentist’s Perspective!

Posted on: October 12th, 2014 by Weimer Family Dentistry

halloweenblogpicdrweimer

Asking kids not to eat candy at Halloween is like asking them not to eat birthday cake on their birthday!  It’s not going to happen.  There are some candies that are worse than others.  

The bad:

According to the American Dental Association, “Besides how often you snack, the length of time sugary food is in your mouth plays a role in tooth decay. Unless it is a sugar-free product, candies that stay in the mouth for a long period of time subject teeth to an increased risk for tooth decay. The stickier candies, like taffy and gummy bears, also take longer to get washed away by saliva.” The longer a food stays in your mouth attached to the teeth, the longer the bacteria has to do its damage.  

The “Not as bad”

All candy contains sugar and can be harmful to kids’ teeth.   If you are going to indulge, (and what kid isn’t!) here are the least worst of the bad. (and in my next blog, a lesson in how to make up your own grammatically incorrect phrases!)  

Chocolate–The sweet stuff melts very quickly, meaning it doesn’t get the chance to cause teeth problems the way other candy will.  While there are milk and white chocolates, dark chocolate is  the healthiest, and also contains antioxidants. It’s also recommended that chocolate containing nuts and other fillers be avoided, as they are harder on teeth.  

Sugar-Free–Sugar-free candy sweetened with xylitol  helps stimulate saliva production, which flushes nasty bacteria from the mouth. The gum version also helps dislodge food that gets stuck in between the teeth. Peanut Butter–Love peanut butter and chocolate combos? As with plain chocolate, these candies tend to melt quickly in the mouth.  

Of course the best choice for dental health are foods like carrots, broccoli, and cucumbers.  And I am sure your kids would be thrilled after their pleas of “Trick or Treat”  produce a nice ripe eggplant.  Right, Dr. Weimer.  Sure!  So maybe your kids won’t be jumping for joy at receiving a snap peas in their Halloween bags, but you can take precautions to make sure they have a good time, and keep their teeth intact for next Halloween!

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