For many children in the United States, Halloween is a holiday filled with bags brimming with tasty treats and the opportunity to accumulate candy for the winter months ahead. While buckets of sweet treats may be exciting, the potential for tooth decay and cavities from all these sugary treats is less so. This sugar-filled holiday can trigger concerns about your and your children’s dental health.
So, how can you and your kids enjoy this spooky, fun-filled holiday now while preventing cavities and dental health problems? Here, our Gainesville dentist with Comprehensive Dental Care discusses tips for a tooth-friendly Halloween. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our experienced dentist office in Gainesville, FL.
Eat Halloween Treats With Meals
Timing is everything regarding sugary treats and how they affect your smile. While it’s often not feasible to outlaw all candies and sweet treats during the Halloween season, you can make some small changes to when you consume them to reduce their harmful effects on your overall oral health.
If you or your children consume a little bit of candy with meals or directly after meals, you can reap the benefits of having extra saliva in the mouth that naturally forms when consuming a full meal. The extra saliva concentration in the mouth helps wash out any leftover pieces of candy, cavity-causing acids, and other harmful chemicals bacteria produce.
Avoid Snacking On Sugar
When you eat sugar, your body wants more sugar over time. When you have buckets full of Halloween candy, grabbing a handful and popping them in your mouth for a quick snack or a speedy energy boost when your motivation dwindles around mid-day can feel natural. But snacking on sugar can have awful effects on your dental health as well as your overall health.
We recommend skipping sugary snacks whenever you have a hankering for something sweet. Instead of Halloween candy and chocolates, if you need a boost in energy, opt for snack options that are naturally low in sugar, like fruit, vegetables, crackers, or nuts. For more dentist-approved snack recommendations, contact our dental office!
Skip Sticky & Hard Candies
When it comes to the “healthiest” Halloween candy, there aren’t many contenders to choose from. Yet, the most harmful to your oral health are typically those that remain in your mouth for extended periods of time. Hard candies, sticky candies, and gummy treats that remain in the mouth for a long time before they dissolve are dangerous for your smile.
These types of candies carry with them the ability to adhere strongly against the teeth’ surfaces, dramatically increasing your risk of tooth decay and cavities. Sour candies with a high amount of acid attack tooth enamel, weakening it and making it more prone to allowing bacteria to enter each tooth and begin the tooth-decay process.
Chew Sugar-Free Gum
The last thing you want is your mouth to dry when enjoying a Halloween treat. Having a dry mouth is not only uncomfortable, but it is also harmful to the health of your smile. Having an increased amount of saliva in your mouth can go a long way to washing away sugars and excess bits of candy remaining in your mouth after you swallow them.
Just like it’s a good idea to limit your Halloween treats to mealtime or shortly thereafter, it’s also a good idea to chew a stick of sugar-free gum after consuming candies! Enjoying sugarless gum for a 20-minute period after eating foods and candies can help prevent tooth decay as it helps your mouth produce excess saliva, cleansing away candy and neutralizing harmful bacteria.