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Halloween is the time of year where your kids get to dress up as their favorite Disney character or Marvel hero, stay up past their bedtime, and indulge in what seems like an endless amount of sweets. But what you may not be aware of is that those sweets have a hidden agenda – to cause tooth decay which can lead to cavities. Although they may seem harmless with their unique flavors, colors and shapes, over time they can cause damage to your child’s teeth. But there’s a way to ensure your child can enjoy Halloween and all the excitement of trick-or-treating without damaging their pearly whites. From our team of experts, here are the top three tips to make sure your child’s smile is healthy long after the Halloween candy rush has subsided.

1. Avoid sticky and hard candies

  • Taffy, gummy and hard candies have one thing in common: they can lead to tooth decay. Sticky candy adheres to the teeth for prolonged periods of time while hard candy like lollipops can also cause chipping in addition to causing prolonged sugar exposure. Due to their high sugar content and the prolonged period of time these popular Halloween candies are in contact with your child’s teeth, both can lead to tooth decay over time. Chocolate is a better alternative as it quickly dissolves and takes less time to eat, which in turn shortens the amount of time sugar is in contact with the teeth. And of course, extra brushing after eating Halloween treats can be helpful too.

2. Chewing gum

  • Gum is one of the safest treats for your child on Halloween. Because gum stimulates extra saliva, it naturally rinses the mouth washing away food and debris. Choosing an all-natural gum or gum containing xylitol is the best way to ensure your child’s dental health stays on the right track. And be sure to be on the lookout for gums approved by the American Dental Association.

3. Donate a portion of your child’s candy

  • Many dental offices hold Halloween Candy Buybacks where they buyback Halloween candy for a good cause. Search for a dental office near you or visit either of the Great Smiles Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics offices locations in Solana Beach or Carlsbad to donate your candy.