Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sweets and Your Kids’ Teeth - Tips for Going Through Their Candy Stash

Hold on to your hats, parents. The sweet treats season has just begun! With the gooiest, stickiest of holidays – Halloween – behind us, your kids likely will have an entire stash of treats that they'll be munching on for weeks to come.

Letting your young ones enjoy the spoils of Halloween night doesn't have to mean ruin for their teeth. With just a few rules put strategically in place, you can keep your sanity while your children celebrate and enjoy their hard-earned candy haul.

The Best and Worst Candy for Teeth

It’s probably no surprise that sticky candies like Skittles, caramels and Tootsie Rolls are tough on a kids’ teeth, but there are some other culprits you might not have thought about.

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, here’s a list of candies to avoid or greatly limit:

  • Sour candies – these contain a large amount of acid and can erode tooth enamel.
  • Lollipops – unless they’re the sugar-free kind, they stay in your child’s mouth for a long time, which can spell double trouble.
  • Sugary gum – same principal; they’re laden with decay-causing sugar, and stay in a child’s mouth for an extended period of time.

Here are a few treats that aren’t quite as bad for kids’ teeth:

  • Dark chocolate – As long as it’s not laced with other things like caramel, dark chocolate dissolves quickly and is more easily washed away by saliva. It also has antioxidants in it that are said to have health benefits.
  • Sugar-free gum and candy – these stimulate saliva production which can help whisk away decay-causing bacteria in the mouth.
  • Generally speaking, any Halloween treat that can be eaten quickly is better for teeth than ones that linger in the mouth or get stuck in crevices.

Plan to Compromise 

The experts at WebMD suggest you set some fair limits to help ensure your child doesn’t gorge on his or her entire booty with wild abandon.

They suggest you set a limit on how many pieces of candy your child can keep, and allow them to choose what they want to eat the most. Then, whisk the rest of it away and keep it out of reach and out of sight.

Set a standard “treat time” each day, and stick to it. Allow your child to have a treat after school or after dinner, for example. Make sure treat time is followed up a half-hour later with teeth-brushing time.

It’s no wonder why Halloween is so many children’s favorite night of the year! With some forethought and planning, it can be both fun and (relatively!) healthy for the entire family.

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