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NC Dentists: Avoid Sticky Candy to Trick Cavities this Halloween

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Thursday, October 27, 2022   

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the cost of candy is up 13% due to inflation, but North Carolina households are still expected to consume enough sweet treats this Halloween to trigger cavities.

Dr. Rebecca Andrews, a pediatric dentist in Greensboro, said kids should avoid gummies, which are hard to remove from teeth even with thorough brushing, along with hard candy, which can cause small fractures.

"Things to avoid when you're sifting through your Halloween candy is just really things that are sticky, and that spend a lot of time in the mouth and on the tooth structure," Andrews suggested.

She added sour candies contain high amounts of citric acid, which weaken tooth enamel.

According to the National Retail Foundation, total spending this Halloween is expected to reach more than $10 billion, up 20% since before the pandemic.

Andrews pointed to alternatives to satisfy sugar cravings during candy season. She pointed out chocolate, especially dark chocolate which contains less sugar, dissolves quickly and can be brushed off the teeth more easily compared with other types of candy.

"Sugar-free chewing gum is another good option," Andrews advised. "That just increases the flow of the saliva and neutralizes the cavity-causing bacteria, which aids in preventing tooth decay."

Andrews explained increased sugar consumption can lead to tooth decay and cavities, especially when kids do not brush twice a day, floss at night, and drink water throughout the day.

"Prevention is so important with dental care," Andrews emphasized. "Taking these measures with oral home care, restricting sugary, highly-processed sugars is very important."

After the holiday, Andrews added parents should limit treats to once in a while, or donate leftover candy.

Disclosure: The North Carolina Dental Society contributes to our fund for reporting on Education and Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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