Halloween Candy & Cavity Prevention Tips
Halloween can be a tempting time to let down our guard and slack on our dental hygiene, but there’s a better way to approach it where you can avoid cavities and enjoy your candy stash.
Halloween is right around the corner, which means kids will have their hands on a plethora of candy and sweets. Let’s face it, it’s also pretty tempting for adults to dip into the candy stash before Halloween.
Here are 5 ways everyone can stay mouth healthy during Halloween and every day before and after:
1. Stay away from sticky candies like caramel and taffy
The frequency and length of time that sugary food stays in your mouth both play a major role in tooth decay and the formation of cavities. Candy that stays in your mouth for a long period of time can subject your teeth to a much greater risk of tooth decay. The stickier and chewier the candy, like taffy, hard caramel, gummy bears, and Starburst can also take longer to get rinsed or dissolved naturally by your saliva.
2. Consider avoiding hard candies
Besides how often you snack, the length of time sugary food is in your mouth plays a role in developing cavities. Unless it is a sugar-free product, candies that stay in the mouth for a long period of time subject teeth to an increased risk for tooth decay. Aside from the length of time in your mouth, biting hard candies can cause a number of other issues like chips, cracks, and sensitivity.
3. Eat candy as a treat after meals, then brush your teeth
We know all that great Halloween candy can be hard to resist! Especially for kids who put in all that leg work trick or treating! If you can, try and eat Halloween candy and other sugary foods with meals or shortly after mealtime. One reason is that saliva production increases during meals and helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth. Your saliva will help rinse away food particles. Although your body will naturally try to wash away the sugars and stickiness left behind, it’s a better plan to brush, rinse, and floss after eating candy.
4. Avoid drinks like soda with added sugar
When your teeth come constantly come in contact with sugary beverages, your risk of tooth decay increases. Drinking fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay, but avoiding sodas, sugary juices, and other drinks like hot cocoa while consuming additional sugar in the form of candy is recommended. If you choose bottled water, that’s great — look for brands that are fluoridated for extra protection for your teeth.
5. Chew an ADA-approved gum
Instead of candy, consider gum. Sugar-free gums approved by the ADA can be delicious and beneficial to your dental health. In fact, some studies show that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals actually helps reduce tooth decay! This is because it increases saliva in your mouth to wash out food, candy, and sugars. It can also neutralize the acid produced by dental plaque bacteria.
This year, take these tips and enjoy your Halloween armed with even better dental practices. After all, what would a vampire do with no fangs, and what’s spookier than a cavity?