Many children in Massachusetts will not be celebrating Halloween in the traditional way this October, because of the restrictions put into place to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The cities and towns of the Berkshires, for example, have all put their own rules or at least recommendations into place.

Whether ringing the doorbells of a few close neighbors, driving to family members’ house, or trick-or-treating at home, odds are a fair share of candy will still be consumed this Halloween. That means that children will be needing to take extra special care pf their teeth after eating those yummy treats. So, the Massachusetts Dental Society has asked us to remind parents about the effect all that sugary stuff could have on their children’s teeth.

While consuming several pieces of candy on Halloween may not immediately be harmful to teeth, excessive and continuous candy consumption can impact oral health. 

The longer sugar remains in your mouth before you brush, the greater the risk of tooth decay… This is especially true with young children, whose permanent teeth are still coming in and are thus more vulnerable to decay until around age 13. ~ MDS President Dr. MaryJane Hanlon

 

Parents should also consider the types of candy their children are eating…

Sticky, gummy candies have the most cavity-causing potential because these types of treats get easily stuck between teeth and orthodontic brackets and become difficult to simply brushed away.

Hard candies can also be an issue because they are consumed slowly, exposing the mouth to sugar over longer periods of time.

Parent need to remember most of all that their children should brush and floss their teeth after eating candy and they should not go to sleep without brushing the sugary residue from their teeth.

Another piece of advice for parents (and this one wont be popular with the kid’s) is to not let Halloween treats hang around the house for too long. Parents may want to consider allowing their kids to have a few pieces of candy each day for one week and then hiding, donating, or tossing the rest.

For more oral health tips for the whole family, you can visit www.massdental.org/public.

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