Every year, Dr. Greg Greenberg offers a Halloween Candy Buyback to find a home for your kids’ unwanted Halloween candy. This year he won’t be buying it from you, but there will be a prize! Instead, Dr. Greenberg will donate $1 to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC) for every pound of wrapped candy that you drop off at his office (limit $1,000).
When kids bring their Halloween candy in from November 1-10th, they will receive their prize. As always, the donated candy will be shipped to our military troops so that they can enjoy a little piece of home.
Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children is world renowned for treating pediatric orthopedic conditions, as well as related neurological and learning disorders. TSRHC treats children from birth to age 18 and strives to improve children’s care worldwide through their teaching programs and innovative research.
How Candy is Bad For Your Teeth
Eating candy creates an ideal environment within the mouth in which the natural bacteria (streptococcus) feeds on the sugar and forms plaque. Bacteria multiplies as it feeds on sugar and produces acid that then attacks the tooth enamel, causing decay to occur. The longer the teeth are exposed to high acidity levels, the higher the likelihood of cavities forming.
Normally, acids in the mouth are washed away with saliva or removed during teeth brushing and flossing, but if the acids in plaque are allowed to remain on teeth, holes in the enamel can begin to form. These cavities can become larger as the plaque continues to dissolve the tooth enamel. Cavities not detected early can become painful and lead to more serious tooth problems, such as an infection requiring a root canal.
Because it can take up to an hour for the mouth to restore its normal pH balance after eating a piece of candy, eating small amounts of candy throughout the day is much worse for your teeth than having several pieces at one time during the day. If you aren’t able to brush your teeth after eating candy, rinsing your mouth with water afterward can help with acid reduction.
Candy which sticks to the teeth prolongs sugar exposure and is also much worse for your teeth than softer candies, such as solid chocolate.
Candies that are especially bad for the teeth include:
- Sticky candy: Taffy, caramels, gummy snacks, and chocolate candies that contain caramel can stick to your teeth acting as a bacteria adhesive and causing decay.
- Hard candy: Candies such as lollipops and jawbreakers take longer to dissolve in the mouth, so the teeth are constantly bathed in sugar as you eat them.
- Sour candy: Candies with added acid to make them taste sour are extremely bad for your teeth due to the high amounts of enamel-damaging acid.
Dr. Greenberg reminds patients, “It’s possible to indulge in some traditional candies during the Halloween season without experiencing orthodontic problems. We want our patients to have fun, and we encourage them to enjoy treats that won’t harm their braces and retainers (Caring for Your Teeth). Halloween candies and treats that are ortho-friendly include:
- Soft, nut-free candy bars
- Soft chocolates that melt in your mouth
- Peanut butter cups
- Peppermint patties
- Ice cream and milkshakes
Remember to keep dental health in mind at Halloween by brushing your teeth after consuming candy and avoiding those candies which are more likely to cause cavities. Brush carefully around any orthodontics you may be wearing, as candy can get caught behind brackets.
Prevent Cavities or Prohibit Candy
Not participating in Halloween sweets at all is a good option for keeping teeth healthy but may not be realistic for parents of young children. Kids who are banned from eating candy often want it even more. And when they do get some, they tend to over-indulge in or hide candy. The internet offers loads of suggestions on how to and where to hide candy for those children who feel their parents have harsh candy restrictions.
Being open and honest about what candy can do to teeth and overall health, along with agreed upon guidelines can avoid a scenario of children sneaking candy and sugar lingering on teeth.
Have a Halloween Candy Plan
Halloween can be a scary time for oral health if kids partake in too many sugary treats. Discussing a Halloween candy buyback plan with your children can help prevent overindulgence, as well as protect teeth from unwanted cavities.
Some tips to consider in your Halloween Candy Buyback strategy are:
- Eat a good dinner before trick-or-treating. This can minimize snacking on candy all evening. (Be sure to inspect all candy before the kids eat any.)
- Encourage moderation. Decide on a candy limit and stick to it.
- Consider sugar-free candy. Kids can trade in Halloween candy for healthier options you provide.
- Drink water when eating candy. This helps rinse away the sugar.
- Avoid hard or sticky candies that linger on the teeth.
- Create a treat time. Pick a specific time for treats, rotating in healthy options that taste great.
- Use disclosing tablets. Your local pharmacy should carry chewable tablets that allow kids to see where the plaque is on their teeth. This can help them brush better and opens the door for an oral hygiene lesson about sweets.
- Eat candy after a meal. The saliva produced while eating will help wash the sugar away.
- Keep up a good oral care routine. Be sure to remind kids to brush well after eating candy and at least 2 times a day.
- Talk about sharing their candy with the troops. Go to operationgratitude.com to see how it works.
- Schedule a dental appointment for shortly after Halloween. A deep cleaning will remove any plaque or tartar build-up. If a cavity has formed, it can be identified and treated early.
- Be especially mindful of your orthodontics-dental braces at Halloween. Indulging in those sticky treats can do damage to your appliance. Check out our suggestions for healthy Halloween candies for teeth.
Any candy you can’t eat can be brought to Dr. Greenberg’s Halloween Candy Buyback. Let RxSmile Frisco Orthodontics find your Halloween candy a good home. This project is in conjunction with Orthodontist Select, an organization of community specialty practices dedicated to serving our North Dallas communities.
Orthodontist Select’s goal is to inform and educate our neighbors so that they can then make the best, most informed decisions for their families’ orthodontic needs. Dr. Greenberg is a member of Orthodontist Select and has over 25 years of experience as a Doctor of Dental Surgery providing quality specialized orthodontic care for patients in Frisco and North Dallas.
At RxSmile Frisco Orthodontics, our number one priority is the health and happiness of our patients, and we are committed to helping our patients achieve beautiful smiles that last a lifetime. Please contact us for your orthodontic needs.