Children can enjoy some Halloween candy and still avoid sugar-related tooth decay, according to Dr. Margaret Mitchell, a Chicago dentist.
Mitchell said the key to preventing tooth decay lies in limiting not only the amount of candy children eat, but also how long the sugar remains in the mouth.
Brushing teeth as soon as possible after eating candy may keep harmful bacteria from developing, she said, and eating the candy quickly in one sitting decreases the amount of time it is contact with the teeth.
Children and parents can take several additional steps to protect their teeth, said Mitchell, owner of the Mitchell Dental Spa. These include:
- Take inventory. Parents should examine their children's candy and remove anything they consider unacceptable before allowing them to eat it.
- Avoid anything tacky or gummy. This type of candy can stick to teeth and cause decay.
- Be consistent. No matter what time of day children eat candy (day or night), they should remember to have good dental hygiene.
- Take precautions. Before Halloween rolls around, a dentist can put sealants into children's teeth grooves to protect them against corrosion caused by too much sugar.