Let kids eat Halloween candy

By Helaine Smith, DMD, MBA

October 10, 2008 -- Editor's note: Helaine Smith's column, The Mouth Physician, appears regularly on the DrBicuspid.com advice and opinion page, Second Opinion.

Last year I wrote a blog post about letting kids enjoy their Halloween candy.

The idea is really not that far-fetched -- as evidenced by the LA Times and their most recent Health article, "It's the candy season so let the kids indulge."

The Times and the dentist they quote, Dr. Mark Helpin, both agree with the assertion I made last year in a similar release I sent out to the local media.

The reason it's OK for kids to eat candy, as I stated in the release, is because lactic acid is produced when chewing food. This acid decreases the pH of the mouth, creating an acidic environment, which can leave the teeth vulnerable to cavities. However, studies have shown that as long as children and adults practice good oral hygiene, which includes brushing twice a day, eating candy isn't a problem.

What is a problem is nursing a sugary soft drink or sucking on hard candy all day. Coating the teeth in sugar for extended periods of time will cause cavities, but letting your child eat candy as a special treat will not do any harm -- except to their waistlines, if they overindulge.

I'm glad Halloween is approaching -- even though I'm a dentist, I love to eat candy!

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

Copyright © 2008 DrBicuspid.com


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