Trick or Treat! It is nearly time for children (and the adults who still feel like kids 😊) to don their cutest, scariest, most princess-like, superhero or original costumes and head out to their neighbors’ houses for Trick-or-Treating. Perhaps they are attending parties at school or at another community center. Regardless, Halloween has been called a “dentist’s dream” because of the massive amounts of candy consumed on October 31 and the few days thereafter…and the resultant tooth decay that can occur.
FUN FACT: Americans purchase over 600 million pounds of candy for Halloween and spend in excess of approximately $4 billion on candy and more than another $5 billion decorations and costumes!
Candy is Candy – Right?
While no one is condoning the excessive consumption of sugar, there is no way to avoid it at Halloween. One growing trend, by the way, is the teal pumpkin movement – homes displaying a teal pumpkin will have non-food treats in order to allow children with food allergies get treats such as stickers, pencils, and glow bracelets and not feel left out of the festivities. Keep that in mind.
But we digress. Yes, sugar in any shape or form can certainly be deleterious to oral health. And, while it may be tough to get your little ghosts, goblins, or princesses to pay particular attention to brushing their teeth and cleaning their tongues with their TUNG Brush and Gel after they empty out their candy-filled pillowcases or pumpkin baskets, trying to enforce that care will certainly help. But there are some candies that are better than others when it comes to tooth health.
Sticky candies: Chewy and sticky candies adhere to the teeth & gums and get in between teeth so they tend to be more difficult to brush out.
Lollipops: Unless your child bites and chews them like hard candy, the longer a lollipop sits in the mouth, the longer the sugar content will have to do harm.
“Gummy” worms: These traditional creepy crawlies are highly acidic, so combined with the sugar content, they can wear down the enamel on the teeth.
Dark Chocolate: Not only is this the best candy for your teeth, but studies show that it may even contain a chemical that hardens tooth enamel as well as other components in the cocoa bean that are antibacterial and, therefore, fight the development of plaque…so, dark chocolate may actually be good for you!
Sugarless Candies: While they are better than candies and gums packed with sugar, be careful because of the other chemicals that are used to create sweetness.
Candies with Nuts: Nuts will break up the stickiness of most candies and also provide healthy protein and fiber.
The Bottom Line…
Halloween comes but once a year, so don’t be a mean witch when it comes to your kids’ candy. But being mindful of allergies, oral hygiene, and some of the “good and bad” candies can help. One other important fact to remember – most candy can be dangerous, if not fatal, if ingested by your pets, so be sure your kids keep their treat stashes away from Fido or Fluffy.
The Last Word:
Happy Halloween, everyone! Be safe and have fun! 🎃