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How Halloween Candy Affects Your Child’s Teeth (and How You Can Help!)


Children Dentist in Palos Heights

Halloween is fast-approaching, which means your child will be indulging in a lot of candy this month! Here are a few things you should know about these sugary sweets, and how you can help to protect your child’s teeth from tooth decay.

When your child eats Halloween candy, the plaque on their teeth has a feeding frenzy.

Our mouths are filled with both good and bad bacteria. Unfortunately, the plaque that naturally forms on our teeth is comprised of harmful bacteria that feeds on the sugars in your food. In turn, these bacteria release harmful acids onto the surface of our teeth. Therefore, when your child eats sugary foods like candy, these bacteria feast on the sugar within their sweets and, later, excrete acids onto their dental enamel.

Too much candy could lead to toothaches.

As mentioned above, the sugars in candy feed the bacteria that’s hidden in the plaque on our teeth. Then, the bacteria releases harmful acids onto our enamel. When your child eats too much candy over extended periods of time, these harmful acids begin to create a hole in the dental enamel. This hole is also known as a cavity! As this tooth decay worsens, it ultimately exposes the dentin layer within the tooth, which is comprised of numerous microscopic tubules that provide access to the nerve within the tooth. This causes your child to get a toothache!

Good news: you can help!

We understand that eating candy is half the fun of Halloween! So it can certainly be difficult to have your child skip this part of the tradition entirely. That’s why we’ve listed a few things you can do to help your child keep their teeth healthy this Halloween:

  1. Brush immediately after eating candy. When the bacteria in plaque feeds on the sugars in your child’s food, it takes about 20 minutes after their first bite to begin releasing corrosive acids onto their teeth. If your child eats quickly and brushes right away, they could avoid tooth decay entirely!
  2. Drink plenty of water. The fluoride in water fortifies your child’s tooth enamel—it prevents and even reverses the effects of tooth decay! Therefore, make sure your child drinks plenty of water throughout the day to protect their teeth.
  3. Avoid the hard candies. Some candies are tougher on teeth than others. Hard candies like caramels or suckers are much harder on your teeth because of their extended exposure on your child’s dental enamel. This gives the bacteria in plaque plenty of time to feast on their sugars and continuously release acids onto their teeth. Therefore, try to have your kid stick to the treats that are faster to eat!

One of the best things you can do to protect your child’s teeth is to schedule routine visits to the dentist! To schedule your child’s next appointment and protect their teeth from cavities, call College Drive Dental Associates in Palos Heights.

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(708) 361-4626