Avoiding tooth decay the Halloween way
RALEIGH, N.C., (Oct. 19, 2012) — Halloween brings one of the most difficult challenges for parents and dentists, keeping children’s teeth healthy and clean.
“Halloween treats are nearly unavoidable,” said Dr. Jed Jacobson, chief science officer of Delta Dental of North Carolina. “However, not all treats affect teeth in the same way. Knowing which are least damaging can greatly improve oral health during the holidays.”
Delta Dental found that the majority of dentists give out chocolate on Halloween.1 Chocolate dissolves quickly in the mouth and can be eaten easily, decreasing the amount of time sugar stays in contact with teeth.
“Hard and gummy candies tend to take longer to eat,” Dr. Jacobson said. “This extends the time teeth are exposed to sugar that combines with bacteria to produce tooth-decaying acid.”
To cut down on sugar exposure, Delta Dental recommends a thorough tooth-brushing, or at least a big drink of water after a child eats their sweets.
Delta Dental offers these additional tricks for dealing with Halloween treats:
- Try to ensure children eat a good, hearty meal prior to trick-or-treating, so there will be less temptation to gorge on candy.
- Promote good oral health care habits to your children year-round by encouraging twice daily brushing with fluoridated toothpaste, daily flossing and regular dental checkups.
- Don’t buy Halloween candy too far in advance to avoid the temptation for children (and adults) to get a head start on the splurge.
For more Halloween tips from dentists, visit www.trickytreats.org.
About Delta Dental of North Carolina
Delta Dental of North Carolina, with its affiliates in Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio and Tennessee collectively are among the largest dental plan administrators in the nation. In 2011, the enterprise paid out $2.5 billion for dental treatment for nearly 10.4 million enrollees. Offices are located in Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C.; Sherwood and Little Rock, Ark.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Louisville, Ky.; Okemos and Farmington Hills, Mich.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio; and Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis, Tenn.
1 Delta Dental conducted the 2011 Tricky Treats Halloween survey. Delta Dental network dentists were invited via e-mail to participate in the web-based survey. For results based on the total sample of 253, the margin of error is ±6.15 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.