It’s all about their mouth chemistry and carbs.
Halloween is just around the corner…and so is all that candy. All that wonderful, sticky, ooey, gooey, sweet candy. No doubt, your kids are excited. And so is your dentist, knowing that all that sugar working away on their teeth is going to help him or her pay off that enormous student debt a little bit sooner.
All kidding aside, no one can argue that Halloween treats contain a ton of sugar. But here’s some news: your dentist likely disagrees with your doctor as to the best way to eat it.
Doctors will likely wish to keep your child’s blood sugar in check, as much as possible. This could mean having kids eat their candy in small doses over a long period of time. Like, stretching it out ‘til January, if you can.
But your dentist may say this is all wrong. Mark Helpin, a pediatric dentist from Temple University, thinks that kids should actually go ahead and eat as much candy as they can handle in one sitting, at least at Halloween.
“The frequency of eating candy, and other refined carbohydrates, and their stickiness, are big factors in creating the risk of caries (cavities),” he says.
Eating carbs changes the chemistry of your mouth. And it takes a while to go away.
“If I eat a piece of candy now, the pH in my mouth will become acidic, and it will take 30-60 minutes for it to become normal,” says Helpin. “If I keep eating candy throughout the day, there is acid in my mouth for a much longer period of time. The longer teeth are in an acid environment, the greater the risk they will become decayed.”
When is the best time to eat it? At mealtimes, he says, as your saliva is increasing and this helps wash away the carbs.
Best practices? Have kids brush their teeth after eating candy. If this isn’t practical, ask them to rinse with water 3 or 4 times. And keep Helpin’s words in mind.
“Parents can let kids eat a bunch [of candy] now and a bunch later. But don’t let them have one piece now, then an hour later let them have another piece,” he said.
Sometimes gorging, it seems, is the best idea.
Photo credits: Petur Asgeirsson/Shutterstock.com