While checking my email this afternoon, I ran across an interesting item on the Time News Brief:
“Why You Should Eat Your Halloween Candy All At Once ” by Jamie Ducharme is the most counterintutive headline I’ve seen in a long time. It’s definitely the opposite of what my mother preached.
Of course, no one is saying that eating a lot of candy is good. But cavities start as bacteria form plaque by feeding on the sugars and starches on your teeth. The acid in plaque eats into your teeth’s enamel and forms holes that ultimately grow into those cavities. Anna Berik, a Boston dentist, describes it this way — “Cavities are a matter of having something to feed the bacteria—the sugar from the candy—and also the duration of time it’s in contact with your teeth.” So the thinking is that an all-you-can-eat session, then brushing your teeth right away, is better than eating candy gradually over the next several months, thus putting sugar into your mouth every day. “The bacteria can only make the acid so fast,” she says. “At some point, there’s a threshold where they can’t really work any harder.” So while the rest of the body may not like bingeing, it won’t cause added harm to your teeth.
Berik also thinks the best candy for your teeth are those containing chocolate. Chocolate-based candy melts quickly in the mouth, while hard candies, gummies and candy corn tend to stick around. The worst would be something like caramel, which clings to your teeth and is hard to clean off.
If you want to make a difference with Halloween candy, Chris Kammer, a dentist in Madison, Wis., started a Halloween candy buyback program over 10 years ago, with the goal of getting the candyfest over with as quickly as possible. He encourages parents to let their kids select a few pieces of candy, then bring the rest to one of 2,400 buyback sites around the country, where they can be exchanged for cash before being sent to troops overseas.
Just so you don’t forget to brush.