Doctors always recommend that parents limit their children’s candy intake, especially on holidays like Halloween. It’s important to help your children stay healthy, but it’s not always easy! And it’s definitely not fun to feel like the bad guy. Through understanding the potential consequences of a sugar overload, both you and your kids can feel more motivated to keep candy consumption under control.
Last October, our blog talked about different ways to limit how much candy your child eats on Halloween. This year, we’re going to explain why it’s important to limit your kids’ sugar intake (at least when it comes to their teeth) so that it’s easier for you to explain it to them. After all, we know that candy supposedly rots our teeth… But how?!
Candy contains a lot of sugar. Your mouth contains lots of bacteria, some of which is “good” bacteria and some is “bad” bacteria. One of the “bad” bacteria is called streptococcus and feeds on sugar. When this bacteria feeds on sugar, it breaks the sugars down into acid plaque that erodes your tooth enamel, which is the hard outside shell that keeps your teeth intact. If there is enough acid plaque created by the bacteria feeding on the sugar, you can develop a hole in your tooth where the enamel is eaten away, which is called a cavity. This exposes the inside of your tooth to bacteria, and unless the cavity is filled, the tooth will develop a bacterial infection. This bacterial infection will go deeper into the tooth if it remains untreated, causing serious pain and the possibility of tooth loss.
Long story short, candy is bad for your teeth because there are bacteria in your mouth that break sugar down into acids that corrode your teeth’s protective layer and cause painful infections. The best preventative action you can take is not eating sugar at all, but we think that everyone deserves a little sweetness in their life!
We recommend limiting the time that sugar is in your children’s mouth, so that the bacteria doesn’t have time to break it down into harmful acids. You can do this by having them brush their teeth shortly after eating candy, which will get most of the sugar out of their mouth. Unfortunately, there can still be remnants of candy stuck in between the cracks, which may not all be removed by brushing your teeth. But, as a next-best alternative, we can try to avoid soft candies (like caramel) and make sure to brush our teeth after eating sugary foods.
Here are a few kid-friendly videos we found that are a great help in explaining why sugar is bad for your teeth that would be great to show to your little ones!