Give Halloween trick or treaters chocolate, not caramel, sweets and toffees say dental experts

Trick or treaters should be given chocolate over caramel, sweets and toffee. [Photo: Getty]

Trick or treaters should be given chocolate over caramel, sweets and toffee to minimise damage to their teeth, dentists say.

Unlike hard or sticky sweets, chocolate “dissolves quickly”, resulting in less sugar coming into contact with the inside of the mouth.

Gummy candy also gets stuck between teeth, making it harder for a toothbrush to reach, an expert warns.

With the 31st around the corner, Yahoo UK asks dentists how to protect children’s teeth and the treats that do the least dental damage.

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“The length of time sugary food stays in your child’s mouth can affect tooth decay,” Dr Roksolan Mykhalus, Oral-B spokesperson, told Yahoo UK.

“Avoid treats that tend to linger in the mouth, such as hard or sticky sweets, as they will do the most damage to teeth.

“Chocolate dissolves quickly and is not sticky, which decreases the amount of time sugar stays in contact with teeth.”

Although appropriate for Halloween, sour worms should also be avoided.

“Sticky, sour sweets are the worst because they combine acid plus sugar, which stick to the teeth especially in between the teeth where it’s hard to reach with the toothbrush,” Dr Jerome Sebah, ambassador for Arm & Hammer, said.

“Caramel and toffees are also culprits for the sugar and stickiness.”

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With Halloween falling just one day a year, Dr Christian Guenin - dental surgeon at Holford Partners Curaden - stresses parents should not feel too guilty if their child returns with a bag full of sweets.

“It is okay to overindulge, as long as the sweets and chocolates are eaten all together rather than spread out over the course of time in the form of ‘grazing’,” he told Yahoo UK.

“Keeping the intake of dietary sugars to meal times is the safest way forward. Adopting a habit of snacking and consuming between meals is how you will, in time, get tooth decay.”

Dr Mykhalus added: “‘Everything in moderation’ is probably the best policy when it comes to Halloween. Making sugar out of bounds can make it even more irresistible.”

He advises parents fill their children up on a healthy meal before going trick or treating and take a bottle of water with them to “rinse away some of the sugar”.

Perhaps surprisingly, they should also fight the urge to brush their children’s teeth while they are in a sugar coma.

Sugar interacts with bacteria in plaque to produce acid, according to Action on Sugar.

This acid then attacks enamel, causing it to slowly dissolve and create cavities.

Over time, these can develop into abscesses, with a decayed tooth potentially having to be removed.

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“Never brush your teeth just after eating sugary or acidic food or drink,” Dr Sebah said.

“The enamel is getting attacked by the acid so the tooth is more fragile. It is best to rinse with water and wait 30 minutes after the last sweet before brushing.”

As always, brushing with fluoride toothpaste is the best way to reverse dental damage at Halloween.

“Ideally children should brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes,” Dr Mykhalus said.

“Children under three should use a smear of fluoride toothpaste containing at least 1000ppm fluoride.

“Children over three should use a pea size amount of fluoride toothpaste containing at least 1350ppm fluoride.”