With Halloween right around the corner, our homes and workplaces are going to be inundated with candy. Between buying candy in preparation for the holiday, the sweet hauls from trick-or-treating, and the leftover candy, it’s tempting to pop more sweets than we typically would.
Halloween is collectively known as dentists’ least favorite holiday because it’s almost entirely centered around candy – a natural enemy of oral health. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to protect your teeth this Halloween, from being mindful of what you eat to being more diligent about your oral health routine. Follow these simple steps this Halloween to keep your teeth healthy and strong.
Pick Your Candies Carefully
What Halloween candy you choose to consume can play a big role in its effect on your teeth. Whether you’re buying candy, or helping your children pick from the neighbor’s candy bowls, keep these tips in mind.
It’s best to avoid sticky candies as much as possible. This type of candy leaves behind particles that stick to your teeth, meaning the sugar lingers for a longer time. Sour candies are even worse. Not only do sour candies tend to be sticky and coated with extra sugar, they’re also acidic. This acid can weaken tooth enamel, leaving you more prone to cavities.
Stick with candies that you chew and swallow quickly. The less time the sugar spends in your mouth, the less damage it will cause to your teeth.
Wash Away the Sugar
With the added sugar in your mouth, it’s important to be diligent about your oral care routine and maybe go a step further to make sure your mouth is clean.
Brush more often to remove sugars – especially if you just can’t stay away from sticky candies. It’s also important to floss and use a mouth wash to clean between your teeth and along your gum line, where sugar is known to linger.
Drinking more water throughout the day or accompanying your piece of candy with a glass of water will help rinse your mouth of sugar. Be sure to stick to water, any drink with added sugar – like soda, juice, or sweetened coffee – will just add to the problem.
Balance Your Diet
With candy lying around the house, you’re tempted to consume more sugar. Take that into account when you’re planning the rest of your meals and drinks.
If your child typically drinks fruit juice (which tends to have a lot of sugar) switch them to water or a non-sugary drink on days they have a piece of candy. If they (or you) get soda as a treat, give them the option of soda or candy – but not both.
Making sure you limit other daily sweets – like soda and desserts – while the family is regularly consuming candy is important to maintaining a reasonable sugar intake (which is important to both oral health and overall health).
The Best & Worst Candies and Treats for Your Teeth
Here’s a brief overview of the best and worst candies for your teeth to help you make healthier trick-or-treating decisions.
Best Candies for Dental Health:
- Chocolate – This classic isn’t only yummy, it’s also one of the easiest sugars to wash off your teeth, meaning it won’t linger as long and cause more damage.
- Sugar-Free Gum – ADA approved gum can be good for your teeth as chewing it promotes saliva creation to wash sugar and other debris from your teeth. The key is to get the sugar-free variety.
Worst Candies for Dental Health:
- Hard Candies – Since you have to suck on theses candies for a long period, the sugar lingers in your mouth longer than recommended. The sugar can also get into your saliva, meaning it washes over more of your mouth and between your teeth. Plus, these candies can break your teeth if you try to bite them!
- Sticky Candies – The inherent stickiness of sticky candies – like gummies, taffy, and caramel – means pieces of the candy stick to and between your teeth and is more difficult for your saliva to wash away. The longer these sugary particles stick around, the more damage they can cause.
- Sour Candies – These candies are sticky, coated in extra sugar, and acidic – three bad things for your teeth.
We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information call us today to answer all of your questions so get an appointment.