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Scary Sweet: Managing Halloween Candy for Your Teeth

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 8:52 AM

It is that time of year again! Between the Halloween parties, various towns’ trick-or-treat times and classroom parties, candy and other sweet treats are everywhere. The kids love them, but dentists maybe not so much, as too much sugar can lead to tooth decay and a scary smile year-round!

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Nathan Braverman, DMD, MD, Dentistry at NorthShore, shares tips to keep those treats from playing tricks on your teeth:

  • Treat time. Set a time once or twice a day for you and your kids to indulge in one or two pieces of candy each day. This helps promote healthy (small) doses of treats. It also prevents eating sweets at other times during the day with the knowledge that treat time is coming up.
  • Eat with meals. Eating your sugary treat close to meal times increases your saliva production. This increase can help neutralize acids in your mouth and rinse away food particles – reducing your risk for tooth decay.
  • Choose wisely. Limit or avoid hard candies or sticky treats that linger in the mouth. These kinds of treats increase the length of time and acid that eat at teeth causing tooth decay. They cling to your teeth for longer periods, making it harder for the saliva to wash it away. If you do choose to eat these, give your teeth a good brush afterwards or at least rinse the mouth with water. Some dentists favor chocolates over sugary candies as a choice.
  • Choose your beverage carefully. Fluoridated water, bottle or tap, can help prevent tooth decay, as it rinses your mouth while your drink. It is a better option than sweet and acidic soda pop, sports drinks or flavored water. Water is naturally sugar-free. Drink water often throughout the day and while you’re enjoying your candy indulgences.
  • Clean daily. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily to get rid of any sugary sweets left behind and the bacteria that builds up around and between the teeth. This not only helps keep your breath fresh, but prevents tooth decay too!
  • Change often. Make brushing your teeth fun for kids by changing up their toothbrush regularly. It is recommended that toothbrushes get changed every three to four months. Have kids pick out their own fun toothbrush as long as the bristles are soft and it is appropriate for their size. This will only help promote healthy habits while making them fun!
  • Enjoy it. Life is about balance! While constant candy is not a good thing, treating yourself here and there isn’t necessarily bad.

Remember, you don’t have to eat any or all of your candy. Donation or buyback options are available and worth looking into.

What is your favorite kind of Halloween candy?