Happy Halloween from the office of Shane McDowell, DMD! We all know that even as adults, it challenging not to resist joining our kids in celebrating Halloween by eating some candy. Unfortunately, some candies out there are worse than others for your teeth and can cause tooth decay. We wouldn’t dare ask you to give up celebrating Halloween with your family! So here are some tips to keep your teeth healthy this Halloween:
After digging into your candy smorgasbord, try chewing on some sugar-free gum. Studies show that chewing sugar-free gum after meals and snacks can help rinse off and neutralize the acids released by bacteria in plaque, which are harmful to tooth enamel. Chewing also increases the rate of saliva produces, which helps naturally wash away food particles and sugars that can cause tooth decay, and in turn, cavities.
Compromise: Replace Sugary Drinks with Water
If you’re enjoying candy for Halloween, try nixing the sugary drinks like cola, sweet tea, etc. In place of these colas or soft drinks, try drinking water after you indulge. We think it’s a pretty fair trade.
The Best/Worst Candies to Indulge In
The worst candies you could eat include hard candies that linger in your mouth and coat your teeth with sugar, caramel, and gummies, which cling to your teeth after you eat them, causing enamel to decay if left on teeth for too long.
If you’re going to eat candy, we’d recommend these top tooth-friendly candies:
Sugar-free lollipops: these suckers actually help produce saliva, which flushes bacteria away from teeth, tongue and gums.
Chocolate: we’re pretty sure that it’s every adult’s dream to hear that eating chocolate is good for your teeth. While it’s still sugar, the great thing about it is it melts quickly and generally doesn’t stick to your teeth. However, avoid chocolates with caramel and sticky fillings, which can cause tooth decay. If you’re really feeling well behaved, try dark chocolate, which can be good for your heart!
Peanut Butter Cups: just like chocolate, these treats disappear fast while eating.
Powdery Candy: candy like Fun Dip is easy to eat because the sugar dissolves quickly and increases saliva production, which can help clean the sugar off of your teeth.
Eat Candy Close to a Meal
According to the American Dental Association, eating candy closer to mealtime can help cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth. This works because when you eat a meal, your mouth naturally produces more saliva to help breakdown foods. Eating candy close to this time will help wash away sugar and food particles from between your teeth.
Caring for your teeth after Halloween Celebrations
How do you get those pesky pieces of gummies and caramel out of your teeth? Use a soft bristled brush with warm water and an ADA approved toothpaste. (Find some great ones here) Be sure to brush for at least two minutes – longer is always better after you’ve indulged in a sugary treat. Then floss and use a fluoride rinse to get bacteria and particles that your toothbrush can’t reach.
Additionally, it’s best to schedule a check-up after Halloween so we stop any tooth decay in tracks, before it becomes a cavity. Contact our office today at (239) 936-0597.