Halloween Candy comes with falling leaves and softer sunlight every autumn. Already Candy-anticipation grows for the highly favored, candy-flavored children’s holiday, Halloween.
Unfortunately, this delicious sweet can also bring dental disaster.
So, we sympathize with parents as the Halloween candy promotional campaigns are hitting you fast and hard. Like every year, we hope our Halloween candy blog will give you some subtle ammunition to “hit back” and protect your children’s teeth. And, for the children’s sake, we hope to help you without destroying all the fun and magic of the holiday.
Treats: Halloween Candy and Dental Supplies
Beware! As you stock up on candy, dental offices like Dentistry for Children, all over the country are stocking up. not on candy, but on dental supplies. Believe it or not, at Dentistry for Children we begin our annual cringe on October 1. But we are not at all bitter or mean about this holiday, as we explain each year.
You see, on the one hand, we know the children love the stories, costumes, candy, and Trick or Treat traditions.
On the other hand, we know this fun holiday provokes a huge spike in kids’ dental issues.
Candy Expenditure in the US for Halloween: 9 Billion Dollars!
We would be remiss if we did not remind parents to remember that free access to the candy haul will cost them far more in dentistry far outweighs the initial price of candy. Did you know candy from Halloween treat times will be the cause of cracked teeth, broken crowns, and of course, extensive cavities?
We know candy and its main ingredient, sugar is the real monster behind Halloween horrors.
Yet, if only we could control our children’s sugar intake, Halloween would not be such a bad holiday.
Candy and Bitter-Sweet Statistics
Each year Americans spend nearly $9 billion on candy. All of that sugar gets annealed onto and in between the teeth of the 41 million trick-or-treating American children, ages 5 – 14.
All Halloween Candy Does Not Carry an Equal Threat of Dental Danger
However, the AAPD wants parents to know that when it comes to keeping children’s teeth healthy, not all treats are equally threatening. As the days of October fly by, we will bring you information on the worst candies to offer your little ghosts and goblins.
During these October days, we will reveal the true nature of a Halloween candy monster. This monster is particularly dangerous for your child’s dental health. Perhaps Dentistry for children can minimize some of the danger by educating your parents about candy.
Different types of candy cause various degrees of damage to teeth. Given a choice, and if we must stock some Halloween treats, why not choose the candy that will cause the least harm to our children’s teeth?
A Sugar Monster’ Menu
- Sticky candy,
- Gummy candy,
- Jaw Breakers,
All make our list of condemned candy. So, let’s take our annual look at the worst candy to find in a Halloween Treat Bag.
Snickers Candy Bars: The Number One Dental Professional’s Nightmare
As we have said previously, if you had told us that some black-hearted, diabolical inventor created the Snickers bar just to destroy teeth, we would believe you. With 27 grams of sugar, it tops our list as the worst candy offender of the holiday. The candy is packed with greasy chocolate, tooth-chipping peanuts, sticky caramel, and clingy nougat. When eaten, this bar is 266 calories packed full of dental problems. Furthermore, 37 percent of those calories are fat.
The AAPD states, “Think a fun-size bar won’t be too terrible? Think again: the tiny version of the treat still has 8.5 grams of sugar. Add in some tooth-cracking peanuts (specially designed to pop orthodontic brackets off of teeth!) and you’re bound to run into dental problems.”
Halloween Candy and the Deadly Decay Cycle of Tooth Destruction
Let’s review the cycle of tooth decay in order to understand why the sticky nature of this candy is so destructive to teeth.
- Did you know, everyone has streptococcus, in their mouths. It is a naturally occurring oral bacteria.
- Our young patients call these bacteria monsters “sugar bugs.” They crave and feed on sugar.
- As the bacteria eat, the sugar turns into acids.
- Inturn the tooth enamel is eaten or destroyed by acids.
- “Likewise, the acids lower the pH level of the mouth. Now kids who have a penchant for sweets become much more vulnerable to high rates of dental caries and tooth enamel erosion.”
Candy Vampires, Beware!
To help ward off cavities, Dentistry for Children joins the quest of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the leading authority on children’s oral health. Our mission this season is to remind parents, caregivers, and older children, to watch out for certain types of Halloween candy. We don’t always have to use brand names. Let’s look at a traditional Fall Favorite-Caramel. Any brand is bad and here’s why:
Caramel is sticky, and unfortunately, we understand that it is part of its long-term attraction. The flavor lasts. “The longer teeth are exposed to sugars, the longer cavity-causing bacteria have to feed on them.” Caramel and gummy or sticky candies adhere to teeth and will not go away quickly.
He adds that if you must give candy, instead of caramel or “any other gummy, sticky candy, offer children candy that melts and disappears quickly – like chocolate.” AAPD past President Dr. Robert Delarosa stated the obvious, “And always make sure children brush and floss their teeth before going to bed.”
Candy, Treats and More October Fun To Come
We will be bringing you more information next week about other candy to avoid for Halloween. We will review our annual fun-loving hints about making Halloween safer for your child’s teeth.
And by the way, we will soon be revealing why you should consider painting your pumpkins Teal Blue.