Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Candy: Is it the Amount or the Frequency that Creates Dental Decay Risk?

Candy Corn photo credit

The frequency without a doubt.
Halloween can present a very scary time of year for any parent concerned about their child's oral health, since your kids will probably come home with that big haul of candy from trick or treating. But should you let them immediately gorge themselves on the candy and get it out of their system?

Temple University pediatric dentist Mark Helpin thinks that might not be such a bad idea.

"The frequency of eating candy, and other refined carbohydrates, and their stickiness, are big factors in creating the risk of caries (cavities)," he said.

Eating carbohydrates can change the pH balance of the mouth, making it more acidic, which can increase the risk of cavities. Each time candy is eaten, the acid environment in the mouth can take up to an hour to dissipate.

"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," said Helpin. "If I eat 2 or 3 pieces of candy when I eat that first one, my mouth stays acid the same length of time that it would if I ate just that single piece. It's still 30-60 minutes. 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."
The problem with having your children gorge themselves with candy is the intestinal upset and, of course, the sugar high behavioral changes.

I, always, recommend moderation with less frequency and brushing and/or rinsing immediately after ingestion.




  2. Anonymous2:34 PM

    Might want to start reading about Dr. Featherstone's CAMBRA protocal.