Kids, candy & their teeth: Tricks parents can use to help protect kids’ teeth from a sugar overload

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MILWAUKEE -- Dr. Donald Gunlach joins Real Milwaukee to talk about kids, candy and their teeth. The average trick-or-treater consumes about three cups of sugar - equal to 200 sugar packets. AND Kids eat up to 7,000 calories on Halloween - the same as 13 Big Macs.

A few tricks parents can use to help protect kids' teeth from a sugar overload:

  • Brush before eating candy - Brushing before candy consumption reduces the amount of bacteria and plaque on teeth.
  • Chew sugar-free gum - The saliva produced by chewing gum can wash away acids and bacteria.
  • Drink water - Having a drink of water after eating candy helps rinse away sugar that would otherwise cling to teeth.
  • Avoid chewy or sticky candy - Gummy candies and taffy can get stuck on and in between teeth and the longer those sticky substances adhere to the teeth, the worse it is.
  • Steer clear of sour candy - The acid in sour and tart candies can break down tooth enamel quickly. Other acidic foods that are troublesome for teeth include regular and diet soda, energy drinks, orange juice and fruit juices.
  • Avoid candies that last - Hard candy and lollipops stay in the mouth for an extended amount of time, bathing teeth in sugar.