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Chappaqua Dentist Has Tips for Trick-or-Treaters

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. - Candy on Halloween is unavoidable but Chappaqua dentist Alexi Damascus said some candy is better for your little ghosts and goblins than others.

“Ideally, it is less damaging to have chocolate based candies than sticky candies, like Starburst, Skittles or caramels,” said Damascus, a pediatric dentist who works at her father’s office on South Greeley Avenue. “Sticky foods will stick on the teeth and they’re hard to get off and they last a long time. The chocolates dissolve.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American consumes 180 pounds of sugar and 24.7 pounds of candy per year, statistics that bring us right to Halloween — only a few Snickers bars away.  The American Dental Association has suggestions for parents so their kids can maintain good oral health despite Halloween and throughout the year.

Halloween candy — and other sugary foods — should also be consumed with meals, because saliva production increases while eating. This helps neutralize acids produced by bacteria in the mouth and helps rinse away food particles.

“If you’re having lunch and you want to enjoy a piece of your Halloween candy, that’s better than kind of snacking on it all day,” said Damascus. “It’s all about frequency.”

While Damascus recommends that, at the very least, children rinse their mouth out with water after snacking, she said it is preferred to brush and floss after eating candy.

“Of course you don’t want to have any candy after brushing and flossing for the night, so no sneaking chocolates before bed,” said Damascus. “Even dentists enjoy chocolate now and then, you just have to brush and floss after.”

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