Trick or Treat? The Effects of Sugar on Children’s Teeth

effect of sugar on childrens teeth

Trick or Treat? The Effects of Sugar on Children’s Teeth

It’s nearly time for Halloween and Trick or Treating. As your princess, pirate, ghost, or superhero will happily attest, Halloween is the most candy-filled holiday of the year. However, the spooky truth about Halloween is the effect of sugar on children’s teeth. The week after Halloween, emergency dental visits often skyrocket, with up to 80% more dentist visits than an average day. At Hicks Dental, we want to help you prevent any candy-related emergencies.

What Are the Effects of Sugar on Teeth?

Halloween represents nearly 25% of annual candy sales, with around 600 million pounds of candy sold every October! That equals two pounds of candy for every American, and a whole lot of sugar. Most people know that consuming too much sugar leads to tooth decay. However, it’s not necessarily the sugar itself that causes damage—it’s what happens next.

Mouths are full of bacteria. In fact, your mouth has more than 700 types of bacteria, both good and bad. Good bacteria will aid the digestion process, but bad bacteria encourage plaque growth and acid attacks that lead to enamel damage, cavities, and infections. Bad bacteria love to eat sugar, and sugary foods and drinks help them cling to the surface of your teeth.

When the bad bacteria multiply, they form plaque and create acids that destroy tooth enamel, the protective, shiny outer layer of your teeth. When the enamel becomes porous, tiny holes known as cavities or “dental caries” will form. If left untreated, the cavities will increase in size and progress deeper into the tooth, causing pain and decay.

How to Prevent the Effects of Sugar on Children’s Teeth

We don’t believe there’s anything wrong with kids occasionally indulging in sugary treats, as long as they take good care of their teeth! Here are a few tips to help keep your child’s smile “boo-tiful” this Halloween:

  1. Be Picky

Don’t get tricked by your Halloween candy. Avoid hard and sticky candies that stay in the mouth for a long time and coat your child’s teeth with sugar. Biting into hard candies can also crack or break teeth, which often means an emergency dentist visit. Try to avoid sour candies as well. The acid in sour candies is exceptionally harmful to tooth enamel and causes it to break down quickly.

  1. Drink Lots of Water

Water helps prevent tooth decay by washing away the harmful acids and bacteria that attack teeth. Avoid sugary beverages like soda, sports drinks, and flavored waters. The sugar from these drinks can also coat your child’s teeth and lead to tooth decay.

  1. Brush and Floss Before Bed

As always, don’t let your little monsters go to bed before taking care of their teeth and getting rid of the sugar or plaque left behind from all that candy. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing for a full two minutes at least twice a day to keep cavities away.

Keep Your Children’s Teeth Healthy This Halloween

Your child’s teeth should last a lifetime, and the staff at Hicks Dental in Prescott are here to help! If you think your child may be at risk of developing cavities because of a sweet tooth, we would be happy to meet with you and set up an oral care plan that includes regular dentist visits and protective fluoride treatments. To schedule an appointment, contact us by calling 928-445-6030 or texting 928-487-4583 today.


Photo by Ksenia Yakovleva on Unsplash (10/31/2021)