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DENTAL PROCEDURES

This Halloween, Hinsdale Dentists Offer Tips For Kids’ Healthier Teeth!
October 23, 2012
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healthy Halloween candy

Halloween is upon us: a dentist’s nightmare, and tooth decay’s dream! Kids typically respond to attempts to compromise their trick or treating hauls with extreme hostility. But kids and dentists nationwide don’t need to butt heads: there are actually simple, effective ways to help make your children’s candy consumption healthy rather than harmful. Your Hinsdale Dentists are offering an easy rule to guide the process: choose chocolate, and ditch the stickies. By stickies, we’re referring to hard candies, toffees, caramels, and gummies: generally anything that sticks to your teeth, has an absurdly high sugar content, and is difficult to chew.

Confused by the candy sorting? In terms of dental health, chocolate is far superior to sticky candies. Just a few reasons why:

Chocolate actively fights tooth decay. Cocoa beans, the main ingredient in chocolate,  have an antibacterial effect. In fact, researchers are even discussing potentially adding cocoa beans to toothpaste! Your Hinsdale dentists can think of anything better than enjoying some sweet chocolate while knowingly fighting plaque.

Sticky candies stay in teeth, causing decay. Kids may not notice the pieces of candy stuck between their teeth, but all the while that sticky lump of sugar is creating bacteria. Depending on how exhaustive the patient’s oral care is, sticky candies can stay adhered to teeth for long periods of time. And the longer the sugar is stuck to the teeth, the higher the chances of decay.

Sticky candies can loosen or pull out dental work. Fillings and braces are hard pressed to stay on teeth when presented with tough, sticky candy. Popular offenders are caramels, Jolly Ranchers, and Star Bursts.

Chocolate dissolves quickly; sticky candies don’t. Chocolate doesn’t hang around inside the mouth: saliva quickly dissolves the milk-based candy, whereas sugary sticky candies can remain lodged against teeth for long periods of time, with ample opportunity to stimulate tooth decay.

Now that you’re in the chocolate camp, your Hinsdale pediatric dentists have a few other tips for making this Halloween easy on your kids’ teeth (and overall health).

– Avoid allowing your kids to have too much candy before bed- especially chocolate. The sugar in all candy and caffeine in chocolate can keep your kids bouncing off the walls. One piece of candy for an after-dinner treat should be plenty.

– Make sure your kids brush their teeth after eating candy! Your Hinsdale dentists get it: reminding patients to brush after eating is the cliche dentist’s standby. But it’s especially important after candy, to remove all that bacteria-producing sugar from the mouth.

That said, have a safe and wonderful Halloween. We’ll leave you with a great tip from Dr. Harnois: “A week after Halloween, offer to buy the candies back from your kids and consider donating them to a local food bank…$10 for a bag of candies today will save you hundreds in fillings later. Enjoy Halloween!”

Happy trick or treating! Here are a few more creative options for disposing of extra candy after the big day is over.