Is it Halloween again? Yes, it’s almost time for pumpkins and candy, as October 31st approaches. You may have trick or treating, zombie walks, parties and haunted houses planned. And both kids and adults look forward to candy at Halloween. However, sugar is not friendly to the teeth; in fact it may have some frightening results when it comes to dental cavities, and Pearlee Dental would like to give you some information. Having a plan will make your Halloween even sweeter.
Kids may be bringing home bags loaded with candy. You may not want to indulge, simply for the weight gain factor. But your teeth will thank you, when preservation of your smile is a desire. Although fun-size candy bars are cute, eating a bunch of them will add more sugar than is desirable. Sometimes one just leads to another, resulting in sugar blues and weight gain as well as cavities. And know that the longer the sugar sits on the teeth, the more damage that it can do.
You can still enjoy some candy without ruining your teeth. Be smart about it, and enjoy some sugar while avoiding a trip to the dentist. Here are some hints as to how you can eat some candy without ruining your dental health.
1. Limit your intake
Treats such as candy should not be a snack for every day, but an occasional treat. Because the bacteria within the mouth feast on sugar, they can cause damage to your teeth as well as aid in the formation of cavities. When snacking calls, choose fresh fruit or nuts.
2. Choose which sweets you’ll eat
Sticky and gooey candies stick to the teeth. They allow the sugar to stay in your mouth for longer periods. Lollipops take a longer time to dissolve, leaving your teeth more at risk. The steady stream of sugar is a feast for bacteria; the longer the sugar sits on your teeth, the higher is the risk for decay.
3. Savor the taste
Choose your candy carefully and eat one piece a day. This avoids eating candy mindlessly, with a choice of when you will eat and enjoy it. Instead of denying it and then binging, eat it when you know that you will enjoy it the most.
4. Eat sweets with your meal
Saliva is highest when you are eating a meal. The foods that you are eating and drinking will help keep the sugar from sticking to the teeth. Eating cheese after a sweet will help to restore the natural pH of your mouth. This will aid in neutralizing the acids from the sweets or candy.
5. Drink water after candy
Water helps to wash away food that is leftover as well as the sugar from sweet drinks or sodas. Even if you are eating a small piece of candy, follow it up with some water to dilute the acid that the sugar leaves behind.
Water cleans your mouth and washes away the residue produced by sugar-loving bacteria. It also dilutes the acids in your mouth. Drinking water after sweets as well as throughout the day will help maintain your smile. That is something to be happy about.
6. Brush your teeth
Brushing 30 to 60 minutes after eating acidic or sugary foods is smart. You should wait for some time, not right after, as brushing too soon can cause damage to the enamel. If you brush too soon, you could be aiding the acids that cause erosion to your teeth. Within the 30 minutes, saliva will be helping to wash away these acids, and you can follow up with brushing. If unable to brush afterwards, brushing before might help. You should also drink a glass of water.
7. Chew gum
Make sure the gum is sugar-free, as you don’t want to add more sugar to your teeth. The gum will create more saliva, which will help to keep the sugar from sticking to your teeth. Gum that contains Xylitol aids in keeping plaque from sticking to the teeth.
8. Save candy for home
Your children may be out Trick or Treating, but you can instruct them to not eat any candy until they get home. This will also help in keeping them safe; you will be able to look over the candy when they are home, to ensure that it is all safe to eat.
Even before your kids go out, they should enjoy a good meal at home, as this will prevent them from snacking on their candy winnings.
9. Braces beware
Kids with braces have added challenges when it comes to Halloween. Avoid the nightmare by choosing to avoid nuts, tortilla chips, popcorn, hard candy, caramel and other chewy candies that are often handed out at Halloween. Let kids know that they can still eat chocolate and be happy.
10. Get dental checkups
Regular dental checkups may catch cavities before they get worse. A professional cleaning may remove plaque and tartar that may have been missed in regular brushing and flossing. The health of your gums and teeth are important, especially if you like candy and sweets.
Although spooktacular, Halloween certainly presents some challenges when it comes to the teeth. Having a plan beforehand and knowing when sweets will be eaten as well as how they can be enjoyed is important. These hints are for adults as well as children.
We are a holistic dentist, and offer family dental care in Ottawa. Help prevent cavities and keep your mouth healthy with regular exams and cleanings. Contact us to arrange an appointment at our 2948 Baseline Road office. Have a sweet, but not scary Halloween with the right dental actions during this fun holiday.