The safest—and scariest—Halloween candy for kids’ teeth

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

— If you’re trying to prevent cavities, the frequency of sugar consumption is far more important than the total amount.

For most kids, Halloween is all about the candy. The costumes and decorations are fun, for sure, but at the end of the night, a big ol’ bag of goodies is the grand prize for trick-or-treaters. And this drive for sugar makes sense: Generally humans are conditioned to love sweet foods, since they provide quick energy. (That’s why we tend to crave treats when we’re overly hungry or deprived of carbohydrates—our brains need a boost.) But sugar can have some not-so-sweet effects as well, particularly when it comes to children’s dental health.

Sugar is metabolized by mouth bacteria and can quickly transform into acid, which ultimately causes cavities.

First, let’s consider how candy affects our teeth: Sugar is metabolized by mouth bacteria and can quickly transform into acid, which ultimately causes cavities. The good news: Our bodies have a natural defense against this process. (If they didn’t, our teeth would break down every time we ate dessert.) After eating sugar, acid production causes the pH level in our mouths to drop. To counteract this imbalance, our bodies respond by raising the pH around our teeth via our saliva. If we consume sugar too often, however, this defense mechanism can’t keep up with the constant acid attack, leading to tooth decay.

The frequency of sugar consumption is far more important than the total amount.

So if you’re trying to prevent cavities, it makes sense that the frequency of sugar consumption is far more important than the total amount. Eating a lot of sweets may have negative consequences for your general health, of course, but when it comes to tooth decay, how often you eat sugar trumps how much you’re eating. And there are two key factors to consider when being mindful of sugar frequency: The number of times per day you enjoy sugary foods and, perhaps more importantly, how often you consume sweets that stick to your teeth.

When you eat sticky treats, the sugar just hangs out on your teeth and keeps making acid.

When you eat sticky treats, the sugar just hangs out on your teeth and keeps making acid. So even if you have only one super-sticky candy per day (and don’t immediately brush your teeth), the end result is similar to eating sugar throughout the day—your body’s built-in pH-balancing process can’t compete.

Be extra mindful of sticky, chewy treats like gummy candies and caramels.

What does all this mean for our kids and their Halloween hauls? Consider limiting candy consumption to once per day (30 minutes max) and be extra mindful of sticky, chewy treats like gummy candies and caramels. Chocolate bars, on the other hand, tend to melt away, and although the sugar is metabolized into acid quickly, our bodies can usually handle it (as long as we don’t indulge too frequently). And no matter your child’s candy of choice, make sure they brush their teeth immediately after treat time—that way, they won’t be haunted by cavities at their next dentist appointment.

Let Willo do the work.

Willo is the first tooth-brushing robot for kids. This automated system cuts down on user error and safely, consistently cleans teeth in an entirely new way, making it perfect for children who struggle to reach every tooth when brushing on their own. Willo helps remove plaque and sets your child up for a lifetime of healthy oral-care habits.

close