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Halloween Candy Tips from Dr. Leona Kotlyar

Halloween can be the most fun of all of the holidays; it can also be the most dangerous. Outside of the obvious monitoring of the trick-or-treating, there are certain types of sweets that should be avoided and others that are not as harmful to the teeth.
Dr. Leona Kotlyar, a pediatric dentist, has outlined a few of the best and worst candies to eat to maintain a healthy and happy Halloween smile.
Since some candies have the potential to do more damage to teeth than others, parents are advised to choose candy that melts and disappears quickly, leaving minimal sugary residue on the teeth. The longer the teeth are exposed to sugar, the longer the bacteria can feed on it, which could produce cavity-causing acid that can breakdown the enamel.

The best way to protect teeth from decay is to have candy in small portions at limited times, such as after a meal, as dessert, or at regular snack times. Try to avoid letting kids snack on candy throughout the day and most importantly have the kids brush their teeth or at least rinse with water after eating their Halloween sweets.

Some tips which can help parents with all of the Halloween Candy:
-       Sort through all of the candy and eliminate those which are hard, or extremely chewy. Offer your child a buy back (limited to a few cents per candy) or trade in for those candies. Make sure to also check those candies which may potentially have been tampered with (opened or untwisted rappers)
-       Set limits for how much candy they can eat once you have sorted and eliminated all of the detrimental candy. Also, set certain times for when the candy can be consumed so that it is not being snacked on throughout the day.
-       Brush and floss immediately after consuming the candy. A fluoride rinse is optional but can also be used to ensure that the teeth have extra protection during this holiday.
Types of Candy organized from least detrimental to most:
1. Sugar-free candy and gum with xylitol
2. Powdery candy – sugar straws, Pixie Stix

3. Chocolate – any candy bars such as Hershey’s

4. Hard candy – Jolly Ranchers, Mints, Lollipops, Jawbreakers

5. Chewy candy – Caramels, Swedish Fish, Sour Patch Kids, Taffys
Halloween is an exciting holiday for most children. Remember that they can enjoy themselves and eat their candy too. By following the above mentioned tips, your children will learn how to enjoy their sweets while remembering the health of their teeth!
Article contributed by: Dr. Leona Kotlyar, DDS

5th Ave Dental Associates LLP
7815 5th Ave Brooklyn NY