Halloween Candy and Tooth Decay

It is that time of year again, that wonderful time when the leaves start to change colors and there is a slight chill in the air. October means pumpkins, falling leaves and football season. October also means that Halloween is right around the corner. If you have children, it also means that soon they will go Trick-or-Treating and bring home bags and bags full of sugary treats. This is a concern for many parents as candy and other sugary treats have been associated with tooth decay and cavities.

So, does candy really cause tooth decay? The answer to this question is a little more complicated than you might think. The candy itself does not actually cause tooth decay, but it certainly contributes to the problem. Tooth decay is caused by acid-producing bacteria in your mouth that feast on carbohydrates. These carbohydrates can come in the form of candy or even starchy foods like bread. The longer these foods remain on the surface of your teeth, the more likely they are to feed the harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay. For this reason, certain candies and foods are more likely to cause tooth decay than others. That’s right, when it comes to tooth decay, not all candies are alike.

If you are worried about tooth decay in your children, you will want to limit their intake of candies and foods that stick to the surface of and in between the teeth. You know the kind:  gummy worms, licorice and even fruit rollups. If they do enjoy these types of treats, it is important to limit the amount of time that the sugar stays on the surface of their teeth. You can limit their exposure by having them rinse with water after eating sugary foods. Even better, you can have them brush and floss their teeth after eating candy.

Certainly, enjoying Halloween treats is one of the ways to celebrate the fall season. With your help, your child can enjoy these treats in moderation and limit his or her chances of developing tooth decay.  Happy Fall!

Posted on behalf of Dr. Hye Park, Green Dental of Alexandria