Halloween is just around the corner, which means parties, costumes and loads of candy. Fortune 500 reports that the average trick-or-treater will consume about 3 cups of candy on this day alone, which is about 7,000 calories of sugar in one day. With that crazy amount of sugar on just this one day, plus the days to follow, the amount of sugar a child consumes can be mind-blowing. Use these tips to help protect your child’s teeth from the effects of sugary treats and tips for limiting how much sugar your child consumes!
Halloween is one of the biggest candy holidays of the year as:
When you eat (any food, not just candy), sugars in your mood mix with bacteria in your mouth as you are chewing your food into smaller pieces for digestion. That mixture of sugar and bacteria creates a sticky substance called plaque, and that’s the transparent film that sticks to your teeth. Plaque is not generally washed away by swallowing or drinking liquids. It is very sticky, so it sticks to your tooth enamel surfaces. You may even be able to feel some plaque on your teeth right now if you feel your teeth with your tongue.
The longer that plaque sits on your teeth, the more it damages your teeth. This is because plaque is acidic. Acids are caustic enough that they can actually break up the minerals in your teeth if given enough time. When plaque is stuck on your teeth for awhile, it can work at your tooth enamel, eroding it and weakening it until it starts to demineralize and decay. That is how a cavity gets its start. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth like you should be doing several times a day, you leave yourself open to tooth decay from plaque. When the top layers of teeth decay, the inner layers can decay and get infected, leading to tooth loss. All of these problems can be directly traced back to sugar.
As we mentioned, you won’t get a cavity just because you eat a sweet treat. In fact, you could get cavities from regular food instead of just Halloween candy or sweet treats if they have sugar. The more sugar you eat, the more your teeth can decay.
You can avoid cavities even if you eat some sugar by:
If you or your child do end up getting cavities—especially from Halloween candy consumption—we can still help your smile to be healthy. When a cavity forms in a tooth, we can’t reverse it. What we can do is remove that part of the tooth and restore the area with new dental material. The key is to keep up on biannual exams so we can catch teeny tiny cavities and stop them before they grow larger.
When it comes to Halloween candy and the entire fall and winter season full of holidays, make sure you limit sugar consumption and treats. It’s hard to reverse decay or to prevent it if there is an endless amount of sugar being consumed. If you want your child to enjoy their candy while still being healthy, you can do things such as:
Every household will have a plan that works for them to limit decay from Halloween candy consumption. You can definitely still eat candy and so can your kids. Just make sure you’re all taking care of the teeth during candy-heavy holidays. To learn more tips for keeping your child’s teeth healthy, call Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics today at (720) 887-6003!