It’s Halloween! Or, as I like to call it, Job Security Day. It is estimated that we eat almost 3.5 pounds of candy on Halloween; that’s a lot of sugar! I love sugar (many of my patients know that I love a frozen Snickers), but it has the potential to damage your teeth. Below are a few things you and your family can do to enjoy the Halloween bounty and stay mouth healthy.
- Eat more chocolate! Hard candies prolong the amount of time the sugar stays in your mouth. As it mixes with saliva, it is almost bathing your teeth in sugar. Sticky and gummy candies increase risk of cavities by sticking to your teeth for a long time. Sticky candies are also more difficult to wash away from the tooth surface. Sour candies might be the worst type, though, as the added citric acid weakens tooth enamel. However, chocolate is more easily washed away, so think of this as another benefit of eating chocolate (well, at least as compared to other candies).
- Eat Halloween candy with or shortly after main meals. More saliva is produced when eating, so the increased salivary flow can help wash away the sugary treats.
- Limit your intake. Like almost everything else, sugary foods are best enjoyed in moderation.
- Drink water after eating Halloween candy. If you can’t easily get to a toothbrush and toothpaste, drinking water after eating can help wash away food particles. It helps clean your mouth AND has no calories!
- Brush and floss your teeth. Obviously, it is still important to brush and floss.
Of course, you can always ask me any questions you have about how your diet can affect your teeth. And if you want, check out the American Dental Association’s tips on having a mouth-healthy Halloween. Have a good Halloween and stay safe. And don’t forget to brush and floss!