SOURCE: Ontario Dental Association

Ontario Dental Association

October 28, 2015 07:30 ET

Ontario Dentists Say: Have Your Candy -- and Eat it, Too!

With a Few Simple Tips, Halloween Doesn't have to Be Scary for Children's Teeth

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - October 28, 2015) - It's that time of year again when kids look forward to getting candy and sweets -- and parents and caregivers begin to worry about the damage that sugar does to their children's teeth. The Ontario Dental Association (ODA) has some tips to make Halloween more fun than frightening when it comes to oral health.

"As a parent, I always wanted my children to enjoy themselves on Halloween, including eating the candy they got from trick-or-treating," says ODA President Dr. Victor Kutcher. "Keep in mind that tooth decay does not develop from sugar alone. It comes from poor oral health habits, like not brushing or flossing regularly and letting food sit on teeth for long periods of time."

Parents can mitigate the potentially harmful effects of Halloween candy by incorporating healthy habits into your child's everyday oral health-care routine.

  • Eating sweets is fine when done in moderation. Keep candy in a sealed container and establish times when your child can have a treat.
  • Give your child sweets just after mealtimes, as the amount of saliva produced at this time will help protect your child's teeth.
  • Have your child brush their teeth twice a day and floss once a day. If your child doesn't have access to a toothbrush while away from home, give them sugarless gum to help get their saliva flowing.
  • Alternate with some healthy snacks, such as vegetables, fruits, yogurts and cheeses, with Halloween treats.

According to Dr. Kutcher, it also helps to know which treats are good and not-so-good for your teeth when combing through the candy your children bring home.

The good: Treats that are sugarless or low in sugar, not hard and easily brushed away after they are eaten. Sugarless gum, sunflower seeds, popcorn or sugarless lollipops are good treats to hand out. Chocolate, a Halloween favourite, dissolves in your mouth instead of getting stuck between your teeth.

The not-so-good: Treats that remain in the mouth for a long time are the prime culprits behind decay-causing bacteria. Avoid sticky sweets that adhere to teeth, such as caramels, toffees and fruit roll-ups. Hard candies, such as lollipops and jawbreakers, can also cause chipped teeth and may damage dental work. Limit these treats to once a week or get your child to trade them in for stickers or small toys.

"Establishing good oral health-care habits in children early in life can help them survive Halloween," says Dr. Kutcher.

For more information, visit www.youroralhealth.ca.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Bonnie Dean
    Public Affairs and Communications
    Ontario Dental Association
    416-922-3900, extension 3305
    media@oda.ca