Annually, October 31 fuels fantasies via costumes and cavities via candy thanks to Halloween celebrations. Each year, millions of children take to the streets in costume and go door-to-door begging for their favorite confectionery delights. While options like chocolate, gummy candies and lollipops are certainly tasty, they can also wreak havoc on dental health. Fortunately parents and caregivers can implement some tips to minimize the odds of their charges developing dental problems while still allowing plenty of wiggle room for Halloween fun!
Each year millions of children struggle with the big decision of what to dress up as on Halloween and despite if they end up dressing like a cartoon character a pirate or opt to wear fake teeth for Halloween, the costume runs a close second to the potential of collecting enough candy to delight a small army. Within the candy industry, Halloween marks the peak season with an estimated $2 billion in sales, totaling approximately 25 percent of the annual candy business. Some of those treats contribute to the fact that the average American consumes 24.3 pounds, of the sweet stuff each year (Current Industrial Reports, Confectionery: 2009).
Although candy is dandy, the Government's new nutritional plate guidelines stresses the importance of eating a well-balanced diet versus the sweet stuff to prevent health problems. Candy is filled with sugars and when that food is consumed trace amounts will linger on teeth. That sucrose provides a feast for oral bacteria that can band together form a community of dental plaque. As the dental plaque and the organism components chow down on the sugars, they will produce tooth eroding acid as a byproduct and can increase the odds of a trick-or-treater developing tooth decay and dental cavities.
It is important to note that studies have shown that it is not necessarily the type of sugar consumed that causes those dental problems, but the frequency surrounding how the confectionery delights are ingested. Since depriving a child of Halloween treats is not a viable option, caregivers instead should allow their kids to eat a couple of pieces of candy at one given time and follow up that process by making sure their child drinks a clean, fresh glass of water. The purifying liquid will wash away residual sugars and minimize the risk of tooth erosion until it is officially time to brush teeth and go to bed.