October is here and that means many kids are getting excited for Halloween! While Halloween festivities are always a treat, there is one truly scary thing – the dangers it poses to teeth and braces. The sugar from candy can collect in the mouth and interact with bacteria that forms acid which can eat away tooth enamel. It left there long enough, this process can lead to cavities. Below are some great tips to help you win the Halloween candy war and more info below about a fantastic candy buy back program!
Here are a few things you can do to help prevent cavities while still being able to enjoy some Halloween candy:
- Limit candy consumption: Limit your kid to a piece of candy per day. An important way to protect teeth from decay is to limit the frequency of eating sweets. It is always best to eat sweets with other foods, such as having a piece of candy after dinner.
- Candy Bank: Set up a candy bank account for your child and you can be the banker. Kids can then withdraw a certain number of times per week. Make sure to keep candy out of site.
- Trick-or-Treat on a Full Stomach: Make sure your kiddo has a filling dinner before trick-or-treating. This will lead to less temptation to fill up on candy.
- Sticky & Sweet is a Nasty Treat: Sticky or chewy candy lingers in the grooves and crevices of the teeth. The longer the sugar is stuck to the teeth, the more time bacteria have to process that sugar and produce acid that can cause tooth decay.
- Help your little pumpkins make good choices: At the end of trick-or-treating, sit down with your child and sort through the candy together. Soft candy that melts in the mouth such as miniature chocolate bars (without nuts or caramel) and plain M&Ms are better because they do not linger on the teeth. Steer clear of hard candy and lollipops that you suck on for long periods of time. Long exposure time allows bacteria in the mouth to feed on those lingering sugars. Remember to select candy that melts and disappears quickly.
- Braces and Bondings Beware: Hard, sticky candies can break or dislodge braces, retainers, or bondings. Patient should beware of these specific treats and try to break candy bars into smaller pieces, rather than biting into them.
- Keep them Clean: Make sure those sugary ghouls and goblins don’t stick around long after Halloween is over. Brush and floss after eating Halloween candy and make sure to rinse with water.
- Candy Buy Back: You can set up a “buy-back” program at home where your child can trade their candy in for money. To make it easier for their patients and the community, Affiliated Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics offers a Candy Buy Back Program at both of their locations. See below for details.
Most importantly, be safe and have fun!