Halloween is a fun time with costumes, parties, trick-or-treating and lots of candy! It can be tempting to indulge in all the sweet treats; but don’t let the “Sugar Monster” ruin your oral health.
Candy makes us happy but can be a cavity nightmare for your teeth. Cavities are formed by eating sugary and starchy foods which allow bacteria to produce acids. These acids attack the teeth and lead to cavities. Teeth are more vulnerable to cavities the longer the acids remain on your teeth; therefore, sipping on a sugary drink or slowly licking a sugary hard candy or lollipop can increase tooth decay.
Don’t be frightened by Halloween. Continue reading for Dr. Roman’s Halloween Dental Tips which will help minimize damage and keep your teeth happy.
Tip #1: Go Soft
Hard candies usually contain more sugar and they last longer in your mouth which leads to more exposure to cavity causing acids. Also, hard candies can crack teeth. Try softer tooth friendly Halloween treats like chocolate. Chocolate washes off easier than harder candies; and for less sugar, choose dark chocolate.
Tip #2: Avoid Sweet Liquid Treats
Sugary liquids like liquid candy, soda and other sweetened drinks contain a higher amount of sugar than solids. Therefore, ingesting liquid sugars results in consuming more sugar per serving.
Tip #3: Beware of Sticky Treats
Sticky candy like caramel, gummy bears and taffy can stick to your teeth which takes longer for saliva to wash away the sugar. Because the sugar coats your teeth, you allow the “Sugar Monster” to turn your smile upside down.
Tip #4: Choose Healthy
When choosing Halloween treats, choose foods that supply nutrients and protect your dental health; for example, nuts, dark chocolate, granola bars, raisins or trail mix. Limit your trick-or-treater’s sugar intake by checking their Halloween bounty and removing the candies with the highest percentage of sugar.
Tip #5: Quench Your Thirst with Water
Trick-or-treating can be exhausting and thirsty work! Water is the best to quench your thirst, as well as, wash away any sugar that is lurking on your teeth.
Tip #6: Chew Sugarless Gum
Chewing gum after eating stimulates saliva and provides protection for your teeth.
Stimulated saliva rinses away food particles and reduces the bacteria that causes acid erosion. According the ADA, clinical trials have found a decrease in cavities when chewing sugarless gum for twenty minutes after meals.
Tip #7: Resist Sugary Snacks
Grabbing from the candy bowl throughout the day is not good for your teeth or your overall health. Limit your snacks and try to eat your Halloween treats shortly after a meal when saliva production is increased.
Tip #8: Donate
It’s exciting to build a stash of candy, and it can be tempting to keep all the candy around. However, pick out your favorites and donate the rest to a local organization.
Tip #9: Stay Clear of Un-Natural Color
Candy that has an unnatural look are full of artificial food additives and dyes.
Tip #10: Brush the “Sugar Monster” away
Don’t forget to brush and floss your teeth; remember, 2x a day for 2 minutes together with flossing will keep your teeth healthy.
Don’t let the “Sugar Monster” scare your teeth this Halloween. With a little planning, you can have a fun Halloween and stop the “Sugar Monster” from giving your teeth nightmares.
There are more ways to limit your sugar intake and still have a fun Halloween. Just remember, enjoy your treats with moderation, maintain good dental habits and visit us regularly for your dental check-ups.