Halloween and Dental Health

Halloween is just around the corner.  It’s a time for spooky movies, fun, scary decorations, wild costumes, and plenty of sugary, tasty treats.

As we all prepare for this classic Fall holiday, we thought we’d offer a few tips on how our patients can make Halloween as healthy and safe for their teeth as possible.

Tastes Good but Bad for Our Teeth

Most of us know what our favorite candy is, but how about what candy is the worst for our teeth? Sticky, hard, and sour candies all take their place in the “bad” category.  Hard candy takes a long time to dissolve, increasing the amount of time is stays on the teeth.  Sticky candy adheres to the teeth and gums, bringing all the sugar hard up against tooth enamel and the natural bacteria in the mouth. With sour candy the problem is the combination of acidic and sweet makes it twice as harmful to your oral health.

Healthier Treats for Teeth and Gums

Here’s some great news for you chocolate lovers! Chocolate contains compounds like flavonoids and polyphenols, which actually limit oral bacteria, fight bad breath, and slow tooth decay.  However, the more sugar it contains, the more it cancels out the good effects.  This is why we prefer our patients eat dark chocolate. When nuts are added to the chocolate, it’s even better – unless you have a nut allergy or wear an orthodontic appliance.

The best type of candy for your teeth are any using another sweetener such as xylitol or stevia.  Xylitol is inedible to harmful bacteria and even hurts them. Unfortunately, there aren’t many xylitol treat options besides gum.  Hopefully, that will soon change.

Minimizing he Effects of the Sweet Treat on Your Teeth

If your sweet tooth won’t be denied, there are still ways you can fight back against the ill-effects sugar has on your teeth.

Consume Candy Only at Mealtimes – Snacking on sweets between meals gives bad oral bacteria an all-day sugar binge. Eating candy with a meal gives your saliva a chance to do its job by washing away traces of sugar and neutralizing your oral ph.

Candy with a Water Chaser – Follow the consumption of candy with a large drink of water.  This will rinse some of the sugar off your teeth.

Don’t Forget to Brush and Floss – It is essential to maintain your dental routine to keep the sugar from harming your teeth!

Visit Your Dentist on a Routine Basis

Another way to keep your teeth and gums healthy despite the temptations of the season is by maintaining your twice-yearly appointments with the dentist.  These visits will help ensure you don’t have any post-Halloween cavities. 

Wishing you a happy and healthy Halloween!!!

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