Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Good and less-good news about Halloween candy

Good news: Dentists aren't interested in preventing kids from eating Halloween candy! Chocolate isn't so bad! The less-good news: There are limits. The nice people at the the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and president Joe Castellano, D.D.S., sent some surprising reality checks about misconceptions many of us have. Trick or truth!

What parents think: It's better to spread out candy eating for weeks after Halloween, so kids don't gorge and rot their teeth.
Reality check: Let kids have their fill of candy for a few days following Halloween, then donate the rest to local buy-back programs. Prolonged exposure to added sugar and other candy goo enables bacteria to hang around, increasing risk for tooth decay. It’s best to snack on these treats over a short period of time.

What parents think: Organic candy is healthier than non-organic candy.
Reality check: Teeth don't know the difference between organic sugar and non-organic sugar—both are cavity-inducing. The more frequently teeth are exposed to sugar, the more frequently cavity-causing bacteria have the opportunity to feed on them.

What parents think: Fruit gummies are OK.
Reality check: Consider how gummy stuff sticks to your shoe when you step on it and you have a pretty good picture of what happens with gummy candy on teeth. Sour candies also have a high acidity content, which can break down enamel and leave little teeth prone to cavities.

What parents think: All chocolate candies are created equal.
Reality check: Steer kids towards dark chocolate, which is a bit easier on the teeth than milk chocolate (it contains more sugar). Dark chocolate has compounds called antioxidants that can inhibit bacteria from sticking to teeth, helping to fight decay and gum infection, too.

What parents think: Toothbrushing undoes candy damage.
Reality check: Toothbrushing is critical for preventing cavities, but it's ideally done within 20 minutes after eating candy. Otherwise, particles can get stuck in teeth. The next best thing: drinking plenty of water right after candy is eaten to help dislodge those particles. To keep in the holiday spirit, decorate a Halloween-themed reusable water bottle for kids to guzzle from as they trick-or-treat.

What parents think: Granola bars and Goldfish are good candy alternatives.
Reality check: In a recent survey by the AAPD of 1003 parents, 39 percent thought granola bars were good for kids’ teeth, and 28 percent thought Goldfish were. In reality, Goldfish and granola bars get stuck in children’s teeth quite easily, increasing chances for tooth decay.

Happpppppppy Halloween!

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