We hope all our patients and their families had a fabulous Halloween! Our team gets pretty excited for Halloween because we look forward to dressing up together and sharing the fun with our patients. This year we dressed up as Toy Story characters which was a total blast:
Beyond dressing up, Halloween is also infamous for the loads and loads of candy that end up in houses across the country on November 1st. When all that candy is hanging around, it’s tempting for kids and their parents to indulge a bit too much with sweets. It’s tons of fun going door to door saying “Trick or Treat!” and filling up your pumpkin tote, but it’s not so much fun when you’ve got pounds of candy at home that could cause stomach aches, hyperactivity, and cavities! We want our patients to have fun on Halloween, but we’d rather them not binge on sugar soon after, so we’re running our second annual “Halloween Candy Buy-Back”. From November 1st to the 8th, we’ll be offering $1 per pound of Halloween candy up to 5 pounds for our patients! We’ll be sending the candy to troops overseas through the program Operation Gratitude.
If you do choose to keep some candy around the house, it’s important to remember that not all candy is created equal! The #1 dentist-recommended candy is chocolate. It melts off teeth rather than sticking to them, and is usually lower in sugar than the sticky, chewy candies. Dark chocolate has the least amount of sugar and also contains a flavanoid called epicatechin that has been shown to slow tooth decay and also reduces cholesterol, blood clots and clogged arteries. Dark chocolate also contains polyphenols, which are naturally occurring chemicals that limit bad oral that attacks your teeth. The polyphenols in dark chocolate also reduce bad breath!
On the other hand, sour candy is dangerous because not only is it sugary but it’s also very acidic. This is a double whammy for teeth and sour candy can easily promote cavities because of the very low pH which weakens enamel and makes teeth more vulnerable to cavities. We always warn our patients to stay away from sticky and gummy candy like Starburst, Tootsie Rolls, and Skittles because not only are they super sugary, but they tend to stick around longer because of the sticky consistency. The sugar gets stuck in the grooves of molars and in between teeth and can be more harmful because of that increased duration. This is the same reason we don’t love lollipops because kids tend to suck on the sugar for a lot longer compared to eating a few M&M’s and being done with it! Biting into lollipops and other hard candies is very dangerous for teeth because it can crack them.
The candy buyback is a great way to get rid of some of the candy hanging around your house for a good cause, but you can also set other limitations to help your child limit their cavity risk this time of year. Some parents will limit candy only to the weekends, allow their children to keep as many pieces as they are years old, or trade in their candy to the “Switch Witch” for a prize or toy instead! Brushing is extra important this time of year, as well as drinking plenty of water or even chewing sugarless gum shortly after indulging in a sweet treat.