Halloween may just be the one non-official holiday that kids look forward to the most. After all, what’s not to like? Colourful costumes, staying up late, and free candy are all things that kids can easily relate to and get excited about. Although your child’s sweet tooth might be in heaven, all that candy definitely results in a drastic increase in the number of cavity cases we see here. Although the best cure for this annual epidemic would probably be to just abstain from consuming all that sugar, that would obviously take quite a bit of the fun out of Halloween. However, there are some kinds of candies that are much worse or much better for teeth than others. At the very least, limiting your child’s options will help reduce their chance of developing cavities.
Treats like fudge, caramel, toffee, or anything else with a similar consistency easily latch onto teeth and can remain there for a long time. The main issue stems from the fact that the sugar sticks around on teeth for such a long period of time. This encourages bacteria growth and decays tooth enamel. Theoretically, these candies would be no worse than any other if they were eaten in a timely fashion with no leftover debris, but that’s putting a lot of pressure on your kid! If you have a fan of sticky delights who absolutely must have them, try looking for alternatives that contain nuts. Nuts can help break up the stickiness, which is the main culprit here.
As far as candy goes, dark chocolate likely isn’t high on a lot of kids’ lists of favourites. However, dark chocolate may be as close as you’re going to get to finding a “good” candy from a dental perspective. Compounds contained within cocoa powder have been shown to potentially have an antibacterial effect that can help fight plaque, reducing tooth enamel decay. Although it might not be the most popular, buying candies that incorporate dark chocolate this Halloween may be an option if you’re wary of cavities.
Many people have misgivings when it comes to sugar substitutes, but from a dental perspective, they have been shown to be better for teeth than their sugar-filled counterparts. Gum, in particular, requires a lot of chewing, which helps generate saliva. Saliva contains lots of anti-plaque compounds and enzymes that can help offset the tooth decay caused by sugar.
Halloween should be an enjoyable day for kids and parents, but it’s still hard to just shove all your oral health concerns under the table, even if it’s just for one night. Stay conscientious about what kinds of candies are out there, and know which are most and least harmful. Happy trick or treating!