Halloween wouldn't be complete without goblins, ghouls and goodies. Yet parents often feel uncomfortable allowing children to enjoy the goodies.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) has some suggestions for parents worried about Halloween treats wreaking havoc with their children's teeth.If snacking is done sensibly, the once-a-year holiday can be fun without harming teeth.
Candy, the pediatric dentists say, is no more likely to cause cavities than most other foods. The important thing, is how frequently a child eats. Every time food is eaten, acid is produced by bacteria living in the mouth. The acid typically remains in the mouth for 20 minutes after eating either a snack or a full meal. Children who snack frequently suffer multiple acid attacks and that can lead to tooth decay.
So how should parents approach Halloween? Here's what pediatric dentists say:
- Allow children to choose one or two pieces of candy after lunch and dinner since an acid attack is already under way due to the meal.
- Limit snacking to no more than three or four times a day and choose snacks that contribute to overall nutrition and health. Snacks such as cheese, vegetables, yogurt and chocolate milk all are nutritious choices.
- Make sure children brush at least twice a day, once in the morning and once before bed.