The Good, the Bad and the Ugly For Your Kids’ Teeth
Make sure your children feast on the right sweet treats for their teeth this Halloween. Dr. Agnès Roze, Paediatric Dentist at Dr. Roze & Associates Dental Clinic shares the candy to opt for and avoid
With Halloween fast approaching, kids are starting to get excited about the prospect of dressing up, carving the pumpkin and of course the endless supply of candy – did you know that just over 25 per cent of candy purchased in America each year is bought at Halloween? That’s scary news for teeth! But how are those sweets really affecting your child’s dental health? Here are some of the best, and worst, offenders to keep in mind when all hallow’s eve arises.
These are extremely popular as they come in various shapes and sizes, and let’s face it, look incredibly enticing. However, it comes with a fair number of pitfalls. Firstly, it has the potential to crack your kids’ teeth so keep an eye on your child when they’re eating hard candy. Unfortunately, hard candy also sticks around a lot longer than other candy which means the teeth are exposed to sugar for longer. The issue with this is the longer teeth are in contact with sugar the higher the risk of cavities (sugar provides bad bacteria with the energy it needs to destroy enamel).
In terms of viscosity, hard and sticky candy couldn’t be further apart however the impact on teeth is equally as bad. Like hard candy, sticky candy can get stuck in tooth crevices, causing a negative impact long after it’s been swallowed, giving the bad bacteria more time to eat away at the enamel.
Sour candy is perhaps one of the scariest candy’s out there. The high amount of acid in sour candy is a real cause for concern for the enamel on the teeth and creates even more chance of cavities.
Chocolate is generally the safer sweet option, since it washes away easier than other candy, and it is less destructive to enamel, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t like chocolate. This in particular is the best type of chocolate for oral health because it contains less sugar than milk chocolate and, get this, it can actually help keep cavities away! That’s because it contains a flavanoid called epicatechin. Epicatechin has shown to slow tooth decay and also reduces cholesterol, blood clots and clogged arteries. Dark chocolate also contains polyphenols, which are naturally occurring chemicals that limit bad oral hygiene that attacks your teeth therefore the polyphenols in dark chocolate helps reduce bad breath – a win for everyone.
Candy bars with nuts
Regular candy bars aren’t the best things for your teeth, and depending on their ingredients, can be very sticky and damaging to teeth. However, one way of overcoming this is to look at for candy bars that have nuts in them, this is because the nuts in the bar help break up the sticky consistency, and almost act as a natural tooth cleaner, ensuring sugar is left on teeth for less time than candy bars without nuts. This is best eaten at home rather than given to visiting children, just incase they have nut allergies.
Gum sweetened with Xylitol
This is the gold star treat to give children. Xylitol sweetened gum is sugarless and helps to create saliva production, which is the body’s natural toothbrush as it helps to clean teeth of debris and any leftover sugar.
Brushing twice a day
Children should brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes to ensure oral health remains in tip top condition, this is particularly true at this time of year when more sugar than normal is consumed. So, once all the trick or treating has finished for another year, make sure they thoroughly and regularly brush and floss to keep the enamel strong and their mouth fresh.
If your child begins to experience any tooth pain, get in touch with us. We’ll thoroughly evaluate their oral health and provide a treatment plan that works for you and them. Have a happy and safe Halloween, and don’t forget to brush!