In a few days, your kids will bring home bags and buckets filled with candy.
We remember how fun this was, looking at all those sweets and wondering what to eat first. As parents (and dental professionals), we now see something else, too — potential cavities.
Look, we don’t want to throw a wet blanket on your family’s Halloween fun. We also want you to be able to enjoy many Halloweens for many years to come.
That’s why we want to take a minute to talk about some ways your kids (and you) can enjoy the candy haul without raising your risk for cavities too much.
But if you do notice tooth decay, please note that our team at Jennifer Perkins, DDS, are here to help. To make an appointment at our Huntsville, AL, dental office, call 256-801-0002.
Get to Know Your Candy
We know that you know that not all candy is the same. Everyone has their favorites, after all.
But that’s not what we’re talking about.
We want you to be aware of which kinds of candy pose the greatest risk of decay.
- The worst — Caramels, gummies, and bubble gum are bad because of their stickiness. This makes them more difficult to remove from your teeth after you’ve eaten them. Sour candies can be problematic for a different reason. They have a high acid content, which can weaken the enamel of your teeth.
- A little better — Choosing snacks that are less acidic and less sticky is an improvement. Things like milk chocolate, crackers and pretzels are a step up.
- Still better — Dark chocolate and sugar-free gum are your best snacking options (as far as candies are concerned). Sugar-free gum often contains xylitol, which can make it harder for plaque to form. Dark chocolate has antioxidants, which also can protect against gum infections and tooth decay.
To be clear, too much of any candy can cause cavities if you eat too much and don’t remember to brush and floss like you should.
Before your kids get dressed up to go trick-or-treating, take a moment to talk about what they can do with their candy.
One great idea is to decide how much candy they will be allowed to keep. From what we’ve seen, most kids come how with more sweets than they can or should eat. That candy then become a temptation for the adults in the house as well.
To reduce that temptation, you can do two things. First, agree to a limit on how much candy kids can keep. By talking about how much candy is OK to eat at one time, you can help them determine how much candy is enough.
Second, look for places that will accept donations of candy together. Whether your kids are sharing candy with troops stationed overseas or with other kids who can’t trick-or-treat, you all can feel good about sharing something to help someone else smile.
Eat Your Treats & Save Your Smile
Protecting your teeth is important for many reasons. Don’t let an abundance of sweets put your favorite smiles at risk. Brush, floss, and remember to get regular professional dental cleanings at Dr. Perkins’s office in Huntsville, AL.