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Trick or Treat All You Want, but Don’t Let Your Teeth Get Spooky!

Spooky and scary things can happen on Halloween and the effect it can have on your children’s teeth is enough to give you the chills. As the holidays approach and celebrations begin, parents worry about the effect excess intake of sugar can have on their children’s teeth. I say let them enjoy, but take a couple of precautions along the way. Most foods contain all the main ingredients that can lead to tooth decay. Sugars and starches attract bacteria in dental plaque and produce the acids that will cause the beginning of the decay process on the teeth. The acid produced by the bacteria need only be in contact with the tooth 30 minutes or more to cause the breakdown of the enamel and eventually decay the tooth. Snacking on candy for a prolonged amount of time will most certainly provide an environment that will be conducive for bacteria to go to work and “spook” decay into the tooth. I say let your little ghosts and witches eat the candy in one sitting and then practice your good oral health habits. If a toothbrush is not readily available, have apples or pears that are abrasive and can help remove the excess sugar left on the teeth. Rinsing well after any snacks is also recommended. This is also a good time to show your children how to share. Take the leftover candy to a shelter or a place where food can be distributed. They will feel good learning how to help others.