Mini chocolate bars, caramels, gum, candy-coated chocolate pieces...shoppers across the country have been filling their carts with their favorite treats in anticipation of Halloween--the biggest "candy holiday" of the year.
While enjoying any type of candy or gum this Halloween, Ameritas Group Dental and Eye Care in Lincoln, Neb., and Dr. Paula Harre, with Harre Orthodontics in Lincoln, Neb., remind parents and kids to thoroughly brush their teeth following the consumption of sugary treats.
"I always encourage patients to brush after every meal, especially if it involves candy," Harre says. "If kids and parents forget to brush their teeth, they are giving bacteria an open invitation to start decay on tooth surfaces."
Halloween can also cause big trouble for individuals with braces.
"Orthodontics patients should avoid sticky, chewy or hard, crunchy
candy or popcorn, as these items can harm braces and affect
treatment," Harre says. "Some alternative Halloween treats include thinly-sliced apples dipped in yogurt or a creamy chocolate sauce, or plain chocolate candy. However, it's imperative that left-over sugary substances are removed from the brackets to avoid tooth decay."
Halloween treats often sit around in candy dishes and containers for several days. "We tend to snack on Halloween candy throughout the day. Remember, the worst thing we can do to our teeth is to have a sugary treat near bedtime and forget to follow up with vigorous and effective brushing. Only water should be consumed at bedtime once teeth are brushed," Harre explains.
So this Halloween, enjoy the yummy treats, but remember to keep your toothbrush handy to ward off bacteria that would like to enjoy any excess sugar on your teeth.
HALLOWEEN CANDY TRIVIA
Kids rank gum and candy as their favorite trick-or-treat candy,
with items containing chocolate topping the list, according to the
National Confectioners Association. And 90 percent of parents admit to sneaking goodies from their kids' Halloween stash, with snack-size chocolate bars, chocolate-coated pieces, caramels, and gum as their favorite tasty treats.