If You Must Eat Candy
If You MUST Eat Candy…
When it comes to candy, kids tend to make choices that make pediatric dentists cringe. In fact, each year Americans consume over 19 million chocolate Santa’s, and there are about 1.76 billion candy canes manufactured each year. Now maybe you can understand why this can be such an important holiday issue to tackle from a dental perspective.
Now, it might be unrealistic to tell you to keep the candy away from your kids when they’re looking up at you with those adorable pleading faces. We get that, but you can make smarter choices that keep your child’s teeth healthy enough to make it through to your next visit to the dentist. Sorting through your child’s candy offers you the chance to weed out problem-causing candy and help them make better decisions. And don’t forget a good, solid brushing and flossing before bed, especially on Christmas!
What Candy to Avoid
Sticky and gummy candy tends to latch onto teeth making it harder to brush off, and allowing bad bacteria to feed on the sugar. When teeth are exposed to these sugars for long periods of time, cavities are formed. In addition to that, hard and chewy candies create the perfect circumstances for dental disasters such as dislodged fillings and create a greater potential for accidental chipping and injury.
If you’re stuck on chewy candy, sugar free gum is a better alternative. Gum containing Xylitol may help to combat the effects of bad bacteria and plaque (but it is not a substitute for brushing and flossing).
Why Chocolate Rocks!
Choose chocolate instead. Why? Chocolate melts and disappears more quickly than other candies, lessening the chance for those sticky sugars to stay behind. It also has a lower acidity than most other options.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, dark chocolate is high in tannins, providing the antioxidants your mouth needs to stay healthy, while polyphenols and flavonoids found in chocolate help battle gum disease and tooth decay.
One last tip: Making sure your child eats a well-balanced meal before breaking out the stocking goodies, making it harder to fill up on sweets before feeling full. Finally, make sure your children brush and floss before bedtime to keep the cavity creeps away! Oh, and set up your next teeth cleaning as soon as possible to ensure your teeth don’t suffer any casualties – call us at 410-248-3384.
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