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Halloween and Children’s Teeth

As a child, it was always the ritual for us to get together as friends after reaping the spoils of our nightly trick-or-treating. We would sit in a circle with each person’s stash piled in front of them – miniature mountains of candy goodness. And then the bargaining would begin.

I have fond memories of Halloween and to this day, it is still one of my favorite times of year. I love it! At the same time, many parents get concerned around this holiday in relation to their children’s teeth – and reasonably so.

It is a fact that candy sales are traditionally higher now than at any other time of year – as much as Christmas, Hanukah, and Easter put together! With all the sweets that are out there, what are we to do?

First off, relax! A little extra sugar is not going to take out a smile overnight. Really, I have seen some people get way too worked up about a little bit of candy. If it is not a recurring habit, then it is not that big of a deal.

But – and this is an important BUT – please, please make sure that your children continue to brush and floss their teeth. These simple things have saved more teeth in more people than all the professional cleanings and dental work have ever been able to do. This is the No. 1 most important part of dental health for adults and children alike.

It is a well-known fact that sugar leads to tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when carbohydrates (sugars and starches) from foods are left on the teeth. Some common offenders are bread, cereal, soda, crackers, and candy. The plaque caused by the bacteria and carbohydrates break down the tooth enamel and create a perfect environment for cavities. This is why it is important to brush and floss regularly.

A night of candy eating is not going to do lasting harm. That said, there are a few things to watch out for in the candy arena.

The super sticky. Besides staying on the teeth for a long time, sticky candies can pull out existing dental work, such as fillings or crowns.

The super hard. Jawbreakers ought to be renamed – tooth breakers would be a more apt description. Don’t try to be a hero and bite through one of these. Sometimes the teeth win, but sometimes they don’t.v

The super long lasting. Putting sugar on your teeth and leaving it there for hours is never a great idea. It shouldn’t take a dentist to tell you this.

The super sour. These candies can be very acidic, which can weaken the enamel of the teeth. Besides, they don’t even taste good. If you do like these, then don’t brush your teeth immediately afterwards. Wait for the mouth to recover from the acid shock first.

Have a Happy Halloween!

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