xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Halloween may cause scary things to happen to your teeth

Halloween candy
(Lloyd Fox,)

Halloween is approaching, and there are some frightful "mouth monsters" out there.

Candy can be harmful to kids' teeth, especially certain kinds and certain times of day, said Dr. Shari Kohn, member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and owner and practicing pediatric dentist at Dentistry for Kids in Hunt Valley.

Advertisement

She said parents don't have to deny their kids all treats, but boundaries are important, especially if the children are at risk for cavities because tooth decay runs in their families.

Kohn said candy causes the acid level in the mouth to change to a level with cavities can occur. Generally after a half hour the levels return to normal.

Advertisement
Advertisement

So she said it's important to eat candy in one sitting, rather than grazing and causing the levels to go up and down often. It's also important not to eat candy right before nap or bedtime because the flow of saliva slows, reducing the natural cleansing action.

She also said the kind of candy matters. Chocolate melts quickly, while fruit chews or gummy candy stick to teeth for hours.

The most important thing kids can do, however, is brush after eating candy, Kohn said. Chewing sugar-free gum with Xylitol can also help pull out sticky candy.

"Brushing after candy consumption is the easiest way to fight the mouth monsters," she said. "If a toothbrush isn't available, be sure to swish the mouth with water to dislodge food particles stuck to teeth."

Advertisement

Not to completely rain on the holiday parade, but health officials also are warning consumers that non-prescription decorative contacts lenses became illegal in Maryland in July.

The lenses are popular with teens and young adults, according to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Maryland Board of Examiners in Optometry.

The lenses, sometimes bought at beauty supply stores, salons and flea markets, may not fit properly and can cause scratches, ulcers and bacterial infections of the cornea. If they can't be treated, a corneal transplant may be necessary. Vision loss is possible.

"Decorative contact lenses can pose a real threat to vision," Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, health secretary, said in a statement.  "Everyone should be on the lookout for contact lenses sold without a prescription – and avoid them."

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement