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6 Tricks for a Tooth-Friendly Halloween

Halloween is known for everything sweet and kids love it! It’s the only time of year that parents don’t blink an eye when people are shoving candy at their little ghosts and goblins as they run around gathering up all the sugary sweetness that they can find. Let me tell you, fights can break out in households over sneaking into your siblings Halloween candy!!
However, one thing that is not usually on the parent’s or the kid’s list of priorities is protecting those pearly whites that are chopping down on all that candy. So, this year, while you are enjoying a little dressing up and trick-or-treating with your favorite little ones, take some time to teach them about the importance of protecting your teeth with these six sweet tricks.

1. Avoid Cavity-Prone Candy

Although these little guys look friendly enough, they are actually very harmful to the teeth. In fact, some of their cousins; caramels, tootsie rolls, fruit roll ups and hard candy; stick to the teeth, which prolongs the exposure that teeth have to the sugar in them. Even some so-called healthy foods, like granola bars and dried fruit may not be that great for teeth because of their stickiness. Hard candy, such as jawbreakers, can damage fillings, dentures and braces or even chip teeth.
You should also keep kids away from sour candies because they tend to weaken the already thin enamel on baby teeth due to their acidity. Not only can sour candy cause serious damage to the enamel, but they can actually lower the pH level in saliva and make it more difficult to rebuild enamel that is weakened.

2. Go for this Tooth-Friendly Candy Tooth-Friendly Candy

Chocolate is actually a better option for teeth because of the speed in which it melts. This helps limit the amount of sugar that sticks around on the teeth. Just remember to avoid chocolates with anything sticky or chewy in the center.
You can also look for candy that has been sweetened with a natural sugar that comes from fruits, like Xylitol. This type of sugar helps to increase pH levels in saliva and helps fight off bacteria that may cause cavities. You should also encourage kids to chew sugarless gum, which can actually stimulate saliva and help remove food particles and sugars from the teeth. Saliva can help rebuild tooth enamel.

3. Hand out Tooth-Friendly Prizes that won’t put you on a “trick” list Give away prizes

If you are handing out treats instead of trick or treating yourself, you can always avoid giving out candy at all. Stick with items that are fun, like glow sticks, play dough containers, spooky or bendable animals, sticky hands, bracelets and other trinkets make fun and tooth-friendly giveaways. They will last much longer after all the candy has been eaten too!

4. Watch Liquid Candy

While juice is often considered a healthy alternative to soda, this could not be further from the truth; at least for the teeth. Juice is actually very high in acid and sugar and you should keep your kids away from them as much as possible. It is best to stick with water throughout the day and only drink juice with a meal.

5. Limit intake of sugar between meals. Watch sugar intake between meals

When it comes to healthy teeth, keep in mind that the amount of sugar is not the issue, but rather the frequency that we allow our kids to consume it that makes the difference between cavities and healthy teeth. Eating stimulates saliva, which cleanses mouth and rebuilds tooth enamel after exposure, but by eating candy or drinking sugary drinks before meals, saliva does not have the time that it needs to do its job. If your kids are to have a treat, make sure that they eat candy following a meal and that they drink water after they have eaten the candy.

6. Sell your candy

Go through all of the candy that your kids collected and allow them to pick out the pieces they want to keep and donate the rest. Many dentists are putting together Candy Buy Back events. In our office, we are holding Candy Buy Back on November 4th between 2 and 5 pm. We will pay $1 for every pound of wrapped candy donated. We’ll hand out fun prizes too! All of this candy will be donated to the organization called Operation Gratitude which sends care packages to troops overseas.
Hopefully, you find these tips helpful. Our goal as your dentist is to keep your kid’s smiles healthy through the holidays and beyond.