Halloween candy tips to spare your child's teeth
With many children hoping to hit the candy jackpot tonight, the challenge for parents will be finding a way to spare their little ones' teeth through the remainder of the year.
But rest easy, because these tips from a dental hygienist can help curb the sugar damage and keep your kids' pearly whites from becoming riddled with cavities.
1. Candy choice
Not all candies are created equal. Just ask anyone who's ever had one those rock-hard Halloween toffees that come in the orange twisty wrappers. (They're virtually teeth-shattering when they're cold.)
But some candies are actually more harmful than others, according to Anaida Deti, a dental hygienist from Toronto.
Candies that keep sugar in the mouth for an extended period of time can do the most damage to teeth, Deti says. That means gummies and toffees, which stick to the teeth, and lollipops, which take a while to consume, are among the most damaging candies for your or your child's dental health.
Deti says chocolate is a better alternative, as are smaller candies that dissolve quickly in the mouth.
2. Best time to eat
Deti says the best time for kids to indulge in some candy is immediately after a meal. "When we eat the saliva gets produced a lot more," Deti told CTV Ottawa. "It helps wash all the bad stuff away from the teeth."
3. Minimizing damage
The fewer candies your child eats, the healthier it will be for their teeth. That might seem obvious, but it can certainly be a challenge to enforce when your seven-year-old has a pillowcase full of treats.
Deti recommends adding milk products to the mix in order to counter some of the sugar damage. Yogurt and cheese, for instance, can restore calcium to the teeth and neutralize some of the sugar in a child's mouth. And kids love cheese strings, right?
4. Choose healthy alternatives
You might not be able to stop the sugar train, but you can slow it down by limiting your child to a few candies at a time. It's also a good idea to cut down on other sugary items in their diet, especially while they've got a candy supply available. That means nixing things like pop or juice at meals, and mixing in healthy snacks like nuts and vegetables with dip.
"Especially during Halloween time, minimize whatever you can every other food and drink that has sugar," Deti says.
She also advises setting up a dentist appointment for your child after Halloween, just to make sure everything is in good order after the sugar binge.
With files from CTV Ottawa