This is going to sound crazy, but eating Halloween candy on Halloween is not dangerous for your teeth. The bigger concern is when the candy is eaten frequently throughout the year and becomes a habit. For example, it’s much better for your child’s teeth to allow them to eat whatever candy they want on Halloween night, and then get rid of the rest. For example, if they receive 100 pieces of candy, and you give them one piece a day, it may create a habit of wanting candy every day – which is much more likely to cause cavities. So the best thing for parents to do with Halloween candy is to let their child enjoy it on Halloween night, and get rid of the rest however you choose to do so.
Some offices offer a “Candy Buy-back” program. We do not have a candy buyback program at our office at this time. We know it can be helpful in some ways, but the main reason we don’t do it is because we don’t want to shift the problems associated with candy from your kids to someone else. Unfortunately, the homeless commonly have many health problems and tooth decay already. According to one of our employees whose husband served several tours in Iraq, the troops have limited access to dental care and the candy is often melted by the time it gets to them. She suggested sending troops sunflower seeds, beef jerky, or energy bars instead. If we could find something useful to do with the candy, we may have one in the future, but for now, the best thing I can think to do with it is to have a massive bonfire! (Just kidding… well, sort of).
The best dental procedures to protect a child’s teeth from candy are dental sealants. These protective coatings “seal” the grooves so the candy does not get stuck deep in the molar where it is difficult to clean. However, sticky candy like Jolly Ranchers, Tootsie Rolls, caramels, and taffy can actually pull the sealants off, or pull off crowns or other dental work, so be careful!
Be safe when Trick or Treating, by all means enjoy the holiday, but don’t keep the candy around a long time!
If you have any other questions about this post, or about dental health in general, please leave a comment or call our office at 205-419-7444.