It’s a given that kids are going to bring home the candy after trick-or-treating — but it’s not a given that those treats have to turn into a horrible trip to the dentist. Ed Schooley is the top dentist for one of the top dental insurance companies in Iowa. Doctor Schooley says 18-percent of two to four year-olds today have cavities and that swells to 80-percent by the time they reach age 17. He says candy is one of the three major factors in cavities. He says the sugar provided by the candy combines with the bacteria in a person’s mouth to produce the acids that produce the cavities or holes in teeth. While you probably can’t completely cut out candy, Schooley says you can prevent the negative impact with good oral hygiene. He says after they’ve had a lot of sugars, you need to go in and break up the “sticky biofilm” they produce. You do that by brushing, flossing, or drinking water to help dilute the sugars. Some people may hand out things like raisons or dried fruit to avoid the candy, but Schooley says they also can be a problem. He says a lot of carbohydrates found in fruits break down into the simple sugars that’re also found in candy bars. He says those fruits can also be sticky and hard to get off kid’s teeth. Schooley says following the proper brushing techniques and drinking water is necessary when eating those foods too. And always brush before bed. He says it’s very important to brush prior to bed, or refrain from sugars so you don’t give the sugars an eight-hour time frame to produce the bad acids. Schooley says eating sugary foods in combination with other foods can also help as the mouth will produce more saliva to wash away the sugars.
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