LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - One of the best parts about Halloween besides getting dressed up in your favorite costume is collecting lots of candy, but a local dentist said it's not just the amount you eat, but the kind and how often that could lead to cavities and tooth decay.
Dr. Wavel Wells has been a pediatric dentist for 45 years. He said over the last couple centuries Halloween has changed when it comes to candy, how it's made and people's access to it.
"Two hundred years ago there was no refined sugars, you couldn't go to the store very conveniently you had to make your own, but now it's totally different it's totally different and it's so easy to get," said Wells.
But it's not just leftover candy from Halloween you should worry about. Wells said it's a year round problem. While it can be tricky to keep young children away from eating candy, once they're exposed to sugar, Wells says it changes something in their brains and they become addicted.
"The sugar is addictive almost like opioids. Sugar has the ability to cause an addictive behavior so that you have some and you want some more."
Wells says all types of candy are bad for your teeth but you should especially look out for sticky and chewy candies that can get stuck in your teeth.
"The Sugar Daddies, and The Jolly Ranchers, and Now or Laters, and all of those things are the worst of them all because if you have a soft drink..it's there and it's gone. But the sticky candies stays in all the groves of your teeth," said Wells.
Good news for chocolate lovers. Wells said it doesn't stick to the teeth and it melts away in the mouth. But regardless of which candy you eat, any of them can lead to cavities, or even worse, tooth decay.
"Well there have to be the present of two or three things to cause cavities one is bacteria, and the second would be a food source for the bacteria," said Wells.
But if you let your kids eat candy after Halloween Wells recommends you should try to get rid of it quickly.
"If you do it once a day that might be okay but it's the frequency of the sugars so you don't want frequent sugars in there because you are constantly having to battle the bacteria creating acid on your teeth," said Wells.
Wells adds his office does not see an increase of patients right after Halloween or other holidays.He stresses it's important to practice good dental hygiene otherwise it could lead to dental problems.