Here we go again! Halloween is here and with Halloween comes ghosts, goblins and goodies—and the sugar in those treats can play some unwanted tricks on your teeth if you’re not careful.
Here’s why: The bacteria in your mouth are probably more excited to eat Halloween candy than you are. When the bacteria eat the sugar and leftover food in your mouth, a weak acid is produced. That acid is what can contribute to cavities.
But don’t hang up your costume just yet. “Halloween is about candy, dressing up and having fun,” says ADA dentist Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty. “It’s OK to eat that candy on Halloween as a splurge as long as you’re brushing twice a day and flossing once a day all year long.”
To help you sort through the trick-or-treat bag, I want to pass on a few tips on how to avoid cavities:
1: Increase your resistance to cavities. Obviously the best way to prevent disease (and tooth decay is a disease) is to create a healthy environment in our mouths 365 days a year. That way our teeth will be prepared. If our mouths are acidic then the cavity-causing bacteria will thrive. Don’t hesitate to contact me with questions on how to decrease acidity in our mouths.
2: Be picky if it’s sticky! These are some of the worst candies for your teeth. Chewy things like caramel gets into the grooves of the molar teeth which gives that cavity-causing bacteria more time to work.
3: Toss the sour stuff: Speaking of acidity, sour candy has pH levels that are much lower than regular candy. Not only that, sour candies are usually designed to be chewed or sucked on over time which is more damaging to teeth. The negative effects of these candies can linger in your mouths for hours.
4: Hard candy: Hard candies are also ones to watch on Halloween. They can actually break your teeth if you’re not careful. You also tend to keep these kinds of candies in your mouth for longer periods of time so the sugar is getting in your saliva and washing over your teeth.
5: Damage Control: When you and your kids consume any candy don’t wait too long to brush. It only takes about 20 minutes for the cavity bugs to begin an all-out assault on our enamel. At the very least, rinse out your mouth with water.
Sources: www.mouthhealthy.org, steelvalleysmiles.com