The end of October into early November is quite a busy time for both parents and dental hygienists. On one end, you have parents going crazy over what treats their kids are eating from Halloween parties and trick-or-treating. On the other end are dental hygienists, who give numerous counts of advice on what types of treats are good and bad, and also cleaning up teeth afterwards. Sometimes, the two groups do the same thing: do whatever they can to keep candy out of mouths.
Sometimes we see and hear parents or hygienists try to keep candy away from kids. The way we see it: instead of cutting off candy completely, allow responsible enjoyment. This is completely possible with a little bit of power of knowledge (maybe power of chocolate, too).
Education is a big part of being a dental hygienist. Some parents aren’t completely knowledgable about what is going on with their childrens’ teeth, and the hygienist provides a lot of great input and things to watch out for. Here on the Keystone blog this week, we thought we’d step in and offer some oral hygiene advice so parents, hygienists, and kids can maintain good oral health this Halloween!
What candies are the worst and should be avoided?
Hard, sticky, and sour candy
According to Dr. Terry Alani in an interview with ABC13 of Houston, these types of candy leave a nasty trail behind. The sticky nature of them gets stuck in grooves of the teeth and some are so hard to chew that they can cause a tooth to be chipped. Since sticky candies hang around inside the mouth for a longer period of time, it gives bacteria more to feed off of. The sour ones are extremely bad for enamel, Dr. Alani warned. Sour candy is highly acidic and breaks down the enamel more than any other kind of treat.
What candy can we enjoy without worrying?
The ADA has been all over this topic for quite some time now (surprise surprise!), and we agree with them about chocolate. Seriously though, who wouldn’t take a recommendation of chocolate?! Anyway, chocolate is a sure-bet when it comes to eating good candy for Halloween. Luckily for us, it’s one of the most popular candy types to be handed out on Halloween. It’s seen as a safe candy to eat because it washes off your teeth easier than any other kind. There are also many studies that point to chocolate being good for you in many other ways as well.
How to NOT be a party pooper this Halloween
Let’s face it: whether you’re a parent, guardian, dentist or hygienist: chances are, words won’t stop a kid from eating candy on Halloween. However, following a few simple tips and suggestions can help enjoy all the fun without being a party pooper.
- Healthy during the day, candy at night. Make a promise with kids: if you eat full, healthy meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can have candy at night. Full meals will also limit the amount of candy they consume.
- Sort the candy. Parents have been doing this for decades, mainly looking for candy that has been tampered with. While sorting, look for previously mentioned “bad” candy that can be donated elsewhere, like this buyback program a dentist did.
- Have lots of cold water on-hand. Water to the rescue. Fluoride in drinking water can help wash away what’s left behind from candy instead of it turning to a cavity.
- Brush your teeth! You can’t be surprised be this one. Aside from drinking water, this is a definite aid in protecting teeth from candy. Make sure kids who consume candy brush their teeth in a reasonable amount of time after consuming it. It’s a great time to teeth the younger ones about importance of oral health, too!
The final message
Let the “Kid Dentists” take it away, courtesy of the Virginia Dental Association.