Dental hygienist Chasidy Farmer demonstrates cleaning techniques on her colleague Dawnya Brown at Bohle Family Dentistry in June 2011. Kids feasting on Halloween candy all at once isn't as bad for them as a prolonged habit of eating sugar, but stress proper cleaning before bed.
With only a week before fright night, it’s the inevitable thoughts of the sweet and gooey, and sour and sticky, that float through the minds of children, but it’s the images of devilish cavities that haunt parents.
So as children start to stuff their goody bags — and inevitably their faces — with sugary treats on Halloween, a local dentist stresses the importance of proper hygiene and even a different, generous alternative for all that collected candy that’s a sweet deal all around.
While it seems like a losing battle trying to halt the sweet tooth of a ravenous werewolf or sucker-slurping vampire, parents can still help their kids’ dental hygiene in focusing on moderation and routine.
“They’re going to eat the candy, we’ve got to be realistic, and we don’t try to stop them,” said Dr. Charles Bohle of Bohle Family Dentistry in Paducah.
And if they’re going to eat all that candy, it’s actually better for kids’ dental hygiene to let them eat more candy in one sitting, than allowing them to spread out that consumption over days or weeks.
“Frequency is more important than amount,” Bohle said. “If you have a bag of candy — tooth wise — it’s better to eat a few pieces at one time than if you’re going to eat one, then maybe eat one later.”
Slowly snacking on candy keeps the teeth coated in acid that results as a by-product of the bacteria feeding off the sugars collected in the mouth. The American Dental Association recommends parents let their children eat candy with meals since the teeth are already exposed to sugars, and the increase in saliva that’s associated with eating helps neutralize that acid.
Bohle also suggested steering clear of those pieces of hard or sticky candy, as they can particularly create problems for teeth.
“The real hard things can easily break teeth, especially baby teeth, and the real sticky candy sticks to the grooves of the teeth making it harder to clean out,” he said.
Most importantly, when the long night of spooking is over, the bags of candy need to be put away and children should brush well before heading to bed, Bohle said.
But when the kids have had their Halloween fun and there’s still piles of candy left over, there’s a new alternative to simply storing it in the candy jar.
Bohle Family Dentistry will participate in the national Halloween Candy Buyback program, purchasing candy from families, businesses and organizations to send to American troops overseas as part of Operation Gratitude.
The national care package operation sent nearly 125 tons of candy to the Armed Forces last year and is set send nearly 60,000 packages of candy and dental hygiene products this year.
Bohle Family Dentistry will pay $1 per pound of candy during two collections hosted at their office at 1836 Broadway in Paducah. The first program will be 3 to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, and the second from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 3.
Shawna Wurth, team leader at the office, said the dentistry has contacted local schools, organizations and businesses to try to get the word out for a large turnout.
“We look forward to seeing people out there and we hope we have more candy than we can possibly hold in our boxes,” Bohle said.
Call Will Pinkston, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8676.
Want to go?
What: Bohle Family Dentistry’s Halloween Candy Buyback to support Operation Gratitude.
When: 3 to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, or 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 3.
Where: Bohle Family Dentistry, 1836 Broadway, Paducah.