Halloween is just around the corner, and with the spooky holiday, we get to enjoy festive décor, visits from little ghosts and goblins, and, of course, lots and lots of candy. What’s thought to be a holiday for the little ones is actually the perfect holiday for anyone, young and old, who has a sweet tooth. You don’t even have to go door to door to score the treats. You just get to sit back and enjoy all the leftover candy. It may sound like a win-win, but that leftover candy can wreak havoc on your health, especially your oral health. Simply put, Halloween candy is bad for your teeth.
The Effects of Sugar
We all know sugar is the biggest culprit of inflammation, which doesn’t do our already aching bodies any favors. But, in addition to interacting with our bodies, sugar interacts with the bacteria in our mouths. It feeds harmful oral bacteria, turning it into a powerful acid that eats away at your teeth’s enamel and leads to tooth decay.
It’s pretty rare for most people to buy sugar-free xylitol gum and healthy treats to pass out to trick-or-treaters. And more than likely, you’re not one of those people. Which we get, and we’re not judging. Halloween is the trick-or-treat holiday for a reason – CANDY. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to manage your sweet tooth and protect your oral health. Here are some tips on how you can enjoy this spooktacular holiday while warding off tooth decay.
Tip #1: Be Selective About Your Candy
Not all candy is created equal when it comes to your teeth. Some are better for you, and some are far worse for you. For example, sour candies top the list as one of the worst things for your teeth. Sour candy doesn’t just contain a massive amount of sugar; it’s also highly acidic. Meaning it harms tooth enamel all on its own without the help of sugar and bacteria. Then when you add a gummy component to it, such as sour gummy worms, the candy remains stuck in your teeth, feeding the bacteria for a long period of time.
You also need to be careful of hard candy. Hard candy is one of the leading causes of cracked and fractured teeth. So, what candy should you be picking out? Chocolate! See, there is some good news. Chocolate is the least harmful candy for your teeth. Chocolate doesn’t stick to your teeth like other candies, and the cocoa in it is actually a great source of flavonoid antioxidants—the darker the chocolate, the better. But you still need to be careful when eating it, as it is still high in sugar.
Tip #2: Only Save A Few
If you don’t have it, you can’t eat it. After your trick-or-treaters have made their rounds, pick out a few yummy treats for yourself and then toss the rest. Halloween candy may be bad for your teeth, but you can still enjoy a few.
Tip #3: Eat Your Candy as Dessert
It’s best to eat sugar with a meal. This is because when you eat, your saliva production is at its highest, and saliva is instrumental in washing away bacteria and sugar from your teeth. It also helps to neutralize the acid in your mouth, protecting your enamel from being attacked.
Tip #4: Brush Your Teeth After Indulging
When possible, brush your teeth shortly after enjoying one of your sweet treats. This will help clean off any lingering particles or sugar still clinging to your teeth. When you can’t brush, rinse with some water. Water not only washes away unwanted sugar but also dilutes acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth.
Tip #5: Visit Your Dentist for a Post-Halloween Cleaning
Regular dental check-ups are vital to good oral health. If you overindulge a little this Halloween, schedule an appointment with your dentist for a little TLC. Your dentist will perform a professional cleaning while examining for any warning signs of tooth decay.
Scare Off Your Sweet Tooth and Protect Your Smile
Don’t let Halloween damage your smile. Even though Halloween candy is bad for your teeth, follow the tips above so you can enjoy the holiday treats and protect your teeth from the dangers of all the sugar. With just a little willpower and some smart choices, you can nibble on a few treats without compromising your oral health.