Dental health professionals give tips to take care of your teeth at Halloween

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Halloween is Tuesday and that means plenty of candy and sweets. As fun as the holiday may be, it's not the best holiday when it comes to taking care of your teeth.

"To me it's not so much that their kids have candy or not have candy, it's how often. Too much can give you a belly ache and too frequently can give you cavities," says Erika Tyler, Pediatric Dentist at Marquette Pediatric Dentistry.

Candy has a high amount of sugar and a low pH, which is a recipe for bacteria in a child's mouth. And that's what creates cavities - the bacteria craves sugar, and that sugar produces an acid buildup that breaks down the enamel in your teeth. If you don't brush your teeth well, then that breakdown creates a cavity, which is like a hole in your tooth.

"Every time you take a bite of sugar, the teeth are in an acid bath for 20 minutes," says Rebecca Maino, a health educator at Marquette County Health Department and a registered dental hygienist. "It's better to just eat the candy and be done with it, brush your teeth of course thoroughly, and then the parents should be checking their teeth too," she says.

"For instance if a child took a bite of a candy bar, let it sit for 20 minutes to a half hour, then came back and take another bite, let it sit. That grazing throughout the whole day is actually worse for your teeth than if you were to just eat the candy, be done with it, brush your teeth, drink water, whatever," Maino states.

Marquette Pediatric Dentistry is even giving children an incentive to not eat all their candy. They're having a candy buy back - for every pound of candy you bring in, they'll give you $5 in return.

"A kid could have three pounds of candy, get $15 and we'll match their $15 and donate it to UPAWS," says Tyler.