Kids will be chomping, chewing and sucking on all sorts of candy during Halloween, so does that make a trip to the dentist inevitable?  Parents should know that some candies are worse than others for the teeth.

Kids will be chomping, chewing and sucking on all sorts of candy during Halloween, so does that make a trip to the dentist inevitable?


Parents should know that some candies are worse than others for the teeth. Robert Willard, a pediatric dentist, said hard candy is a good example.


"A sucker can be in the mouth for an extended period of time and can be worse than other candies," Willard said. "It can cause tooth decay as it lingers in the mouth."


Caramels are another type of candy that can do damage.  


"It really sticks to the grooves of the teeth," said Tanya DeSanto, a family and cosmetic dentist.  


DeSanto said that sugar candies that dissolve in the mouth are another problem.


"Candies like Smarties are made up of sugar that dissolves, and this raw sugar can stay on the teeth," she said.


Both dentists agreed that the best way to combat eating candy on Halloween is to brush the teeth.


"Kids should brush their teeth before they go to bed Halloween night," Willard said.


DeSanto warned that if teeth are not brushed following eating candy then "sticky candy can sit for hours and hours in the mouth decaying the teeth."


The two dentists also said there are preventive ways in protecting teeth.


DeSanto and Willard both suggested dental sealants for children's teeth.


Willard said that dental sealants are a clear plastic coating put on the chewing surface of the teeth. The sealants cover the teeth and provides a protection against decay and plaque buildup.


"Topical fluoride treatments on a six month basis, using fluoride toothpaste on the teeth and regular dental visits are also other preventive measures," Willard said.


Adults who give out candy also can make a difference Halloween night. DeSanto hands out toothbrushes instead of candy on Halloween.


"The kids love it," she said. "They get to pick out their own color toothbrush, and I am known as the 'lady who gives out toothbrushes on Halloween.' "  


State Journal-Register