MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Kids will be munching on as much candy as they can get their hands on tonight, and a Myrtle Beach dentist knows which sweet treats are going to be kinder to kids’ growing teeth.
“You really want to avoid any candies that have cookies, caramel, something that’s going to stick in their teeth, said Dr. Marlene Mendez, a dentist at Happy Teeth Dentistry on Deville Street in The Market Common.
The best candies are ones that she calls “fast dissolving.”
“Something like a chocolate is easy to dissolve,” Mendez said. “Kids can also have sugar-free gum, and it comes with nice fruit flavors that the kids might like.”
She said to be wary as many quick-dissolving chocolates might have some teeth-sticking culprits inside them like cookies in a Twix bar or caramel in a Milky Way.
It is inevitable that kids will eat candy on Halloween, but making sure they are taking care of their dental health afterward should be a priority, Mendez said. That means brushing and flossing thoroughly before they go to bed.
“Sometimes they like the electric toothbrushes,” Mendez said.”It gets them a little bit more interested, but if they’re able to use a manual toothbrush, it’s good enough. The key is taking your time with the regular toothbrush to make sure that you’re reaching all the areas that you need to get to.”
She said the days after Halloween tend to be very busy for the team at Happy Teeth Dentistry.
“We definitely get more calls after Halloween,” Mendez said. “If children have cavities that are already starting to bother them a little bit, some extra sugar can definitely trigger that and cause a little bit of extra pain.”
However, some of those post-Halloween calls are more interesting that a routine checkup.
“We do sometimes see a lot of blue tongues,” Mendez said. “Sometimes it’s orange and different colors.”
She said avoiding candy is hard to do on Halloween, especially if kids are a bit older. However, she said offering an alternative to younger trick-or-treaters may be the key to avoiding any teeth catastrophes.
“The best thing is to give [kids] an alternative,” Mendez said. “People don’t realize that kids love toys, so you’d be surprised how many kids will actually pick a toy instead of the candy.”
Even though candy has the potential to have negative effects on dental health, Mendez said it is only one day of the year, and as long as patients are practicing good dental hygiene, they should be good to go.
“I don’t think you necessarily have to avoid the candy as long as they brush their teeth after, and you do give them other options of having chewing gum and other prizes as well,” Mendez said. “Let the child make the choice. They should get to have fun on Halloween.”