Halloween and dressing up is one of our favorite spooky times each year, but all the sugar from the candy overload and its negative impact on teeth can be absolutely scary for dentists.
The reason sugar is harmful to our teeth is that it feeds harmful oral bacteria that excrete acid, and that acid erodes our precious tooth enamel and ultimately leads to tooth decay.
So let’s discuss how to keep our real teeth far away from tooth decay, so we’re not left having to use a set of vampire’s teeth after Halloween.
Ranking Candy And It’s Effect On Dental Health
The tasty treats given out each year as our kids go house to house are far from healthy as I’m sure your neighbors aren’t giving out things like sugar-free xylitol gum to trick-or-treaters. Nevertheless, some kinds of sweet candy are worse than others or present various other sorts of issues.
- Hard candy is a problem because there’s a risk of breaking our teeth, dental or orthodontic work if we chew it and let’s be honest who doesn’t chomp on a Tootsie Pop to get to the center?
But sucking on hard candy isn’t safe either because that means you are keeping a source of sugar in our mouths for an extended period which is like a continuous feed for the bacteria that decay our teeth.
- Sour candies are like a dual assault on your dental health, because not only do they contain tons of sugar that bacteria love to eat, but they are also extremely acidic so they can harm your enamel directly and erode the teeth with their acidic PH.
- Sticky or gummy candy is remarkably bad because it remains stuck to your teeth long after you have finished eating it, feeding the bacteria for long periods of time and giving them a higher chance to attack the enamel.
- The great news is that chocolate is the least harmful sugary candy! It doesn’t stick to teeth like most other candies, and the cocoa in it has many beneficial properties. The darker the chocolate, the less sugar will be in it, so aim for dark chocolate.
Reducing The Quantity Of Candy We Eat
Choosing wisely about which types of candy we eat is one way to decrease the risk of tooth decay, but an even better way to do that is by simply eating less candy. As parents, we can help our children out with this by coming up with a plan before trick-or-treating time. We could let them trade the bulk of their candy haul for some kind of non-candy prize or limit the number of houses they visit. We just have to make sure to discuss the plan with them in advance.
More Tooth-Healthy Strategies
There are a few other simple things you can do to reduce the dental effects of all that Halloween candy. You can drink more water to rinse out the sugar, limit the frequency of candy consumption more than the quantity, and wait thirty minutes after eating candy to brush your teeth. The reason for that last one is that it takes your saliva about half an hour to stabilize the pH of your mouth after eating sugar.
Keeping Teeth Healthy Year-Round
The Halloween season will be gone before you know it, but the task of keeping our teeth healthy is never finished! Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, consuming fewer sugar-filled treats, and keeping up with regular dental visits will help!