“Oh, perhaps just this once,” said every parent who has given into their children’s relentless begging for holiday candy. Yet, it is these “just this once” holidays that develop habits that our kids will carry on into the rest of their lives. The earlier kids start having dental issues like cavities, the more complicated and difficult their oral care will become in adulthood.
How Candy Damages Your Teeth
- Hard candies, especially suckers, thoroughly bathe teeth in sugar.
- Candies that are sweet, sour, and hard tend to be are extremely acidic and break down the enamel on teeth.
- Sticky and gummy candies can damage your teeth because they tend to stay on longer than other types. They will contribute to the growth of plaque.
- All candy corn, cookies, and cake contain a high amount of sugar that will cause tooth decay.
When the natural bacteria inside the mouth combines with “just this once” sugar, they create acids that destroy tooth enamel and lead to the bacterial infection we all fear, cavities. Without treatment, cavities can continue to progress and lead to pain, holes in the teeth, and total tooth loss. Because your mouth is constantly fighting to remineralize calcium and phosphates to help repair the teeth, it is important to limit sugar intake. This will allow your mouth time to rejuvenate.
How can we help our kids develop healthy holiday habits?
So how do we stay diligent over our kid’s oral hygiene and still let them enjoy their holiday feast? The key is awareness, moderation, and substitution!
- Eating candy with plenty of water will help neutralize the acids produced by bacteria.
- Swishing with water afterward will shake loose bits of candy that get stuck in between teeth.
- Eating candy all at once is better than spreading it out over time. Exposing teeth to acid is less destructive if it is done for as little time as possible.
- Waiting to brush and floss teeth for at least 30 minutes to one hour will keep from wearing enamel away with more acid.
What is the best type of treat to give kids on Easter?
- Candy Bars With Nuts: The nuts will break up the stickiness of candy.
- Homemade Baked Goods: The great thing about homemade foods is that sugar can be easily substituted with monk fruit sweetener or coconut sugar.
- Dark Chocolate: Believe it or not, this is actually the best candy alternative of all! Chocolate with a cocoa of 70% or more is best as it contains natural chemicals that limit oral bacteria and neutralize microorganisms that cause bad breath and prevent some sugar from turning into acid. Its great plant-based antioxidants have also been proven to slow tooth decay!