POSTED: Thursday, October 27, 2011 - 9:54am
UPDATED: Thursday, October 27, 2011 - 1:42pm
What's scarier than goblins and zombies on Halloween? If you're a dentist it's candy!
"Halloween candy is a dentist's worst nightmare," says pediatric dentist Dr. Suzanne Bird.
Dr. Bird says the absolute worst candy for teeth is anything sticky like taffy or hard candy.
"The things that really kind of glue your teeth together when you bite down on them. Those can just break crowns off, they can break fillings," she explains.
They're also more likely to get stuck in the grooves of teeth, giving the candy plenty of time to start working on a cavity. Sour candy is so acidic that some kinds can actually burn gums.
It also weakens and wears away tooth enamel. Chocolate is a good option because it generally does not stick to teeth, and though they're full of sugar, Pixie Sticks dissolve quickly, leaving less sugar for bacteria to thrive on.
So don't be a Halloween Scrooge. Even Dr. Bird hands out candy, and she says it's better for kids' teeth if they eat all the candy they want Halloween night, then get rid of it. It's the repeated exposures to candy that may lead to cavities.
"If you're gonna keep on munching at it, you know, a couple pieces every single day for the month or two months, as long as your candy lasts you, that could cause a lot of damage," she warns.
After kids have had their fill of candy, and you just want it out of the house, consider a Halloween candy buyback program. That's where kids trade in their candy for things like cash and toothbrushes, and then dentists donate the candy to troops serving overseas through Operation Gratitude.
To see if your dentist participates in candy buyback, visit www.halloweencandybuyback.com