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Halloween and Clean Teeth

Dressing up in the spookiest costume and indulging in some sweet treats is all part of the fun on Halloween. But consuming too many of these treats can lead to some unwanted tricks on the teeth if you are not careful.

TRICKS TO HAVE A DENTAL SAFE HALLOWEEN

Halloween is approaching fast! While Halloween may look a little different this year, we’re certain candy (and lots of it) will be involved in this year’s activities so we wanted to put together some tips you can follow to insure you and your children have a dental safe Halloween! 

“The dental team at Carmel Valley Pediatric Dentistry says have fun and brush well!” – Dr. Peggy

Whether you have kids or not, Halloween is the season for sugar consumption. Candy seems to be available everywhere you look. Your workplace, your child’s school, your home, the bank. And when Halloween does finally arrive, the average kid will wind up consuming about 675 grams of sugar, on just that day! That’s like eating 170 sugar cubes which is why it is important to take steps to protect your teeth even on Halloween. 

“Sour candy adds another level of harm to gummies because they are both sticky and acidic. Although it’s extra tasty, eating a lot of this candy can cause tooth enamel to break down or weaken, leading to cavities,” Dr. Grant said.

Here are some tricks for handling the treats, and protecting your teeth, and your dental health this Halloween season!

  1. Stay away from sticky treats! In addition to how often you snack, the length of time sugary food is in your mouth plays a role in tooth decay. 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. The stickier candies, like taffy and gummy bears, also take longer to get washed away by saliva. If you do choose to consume sticky treats on Halloween, be sure to brush your teeth thoroughly once you’re done. 
  1. Chew more gum. A great alternative to candy to consider is gum. Studies show that chewing sugar-free for 20 minutes after meals helps reduce tooth decay, because increased saliva flow helps wash out food and neutralize the acid produced by dental plaque bacteria.
  2. Watch your beverages. Sweet, sugary beverages are often a staple of Halloween.When teeth come in frequent contact with beverages that contain sugar, the risk of tooth decay is increased. If you’re planning on consuming sugary beverages on Halloween be sure to rinse your mouth out afterwards with some water (water with fluoride would be even better) or mouthwash and brush your teeth! 
  3. Incorporate candy with meals. Eat Halloween candy (and other sugary foods) with meals or shortly after mealtime. Saliva production increases during meals. This helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and rinse away food particles.
  4. Find alternative to sweet snacks. Snacking can increase your risk of cavities, and it’s double the trouble if you keep grabbing sugary treats from the candy bowl. Instead of your go to sugary snack, replace it with a healthier less sugary snack like fruits, vegetables or pretzels. 
  5. Choose your candy wisely. Avoid hard candy and other sweets that stay in your mouth for a long time. Aside from how often you snack, the length of time sugary food is in your mouth plays a role in tooth decay. 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.
  6. Have a post-Halloween plan for candy consumption. We all know that Halloween candy lasts longer than Halloween day so make sure you have a plan in place for yourself and your child for consuming all of that post Halloween candy. Encourage the practice of brushing your teeth after meal and excessive candy consumption to promote healthy teeth in your household. 
  7. Drink more water. Drinking more water  and water with fluoride can help prevent tooth decay. If you choose bottled water, look for kinds that are floriated.  
  8. Remember to brush. Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste. Remember, replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth.
  9. Floss! Floss your teeth once a day. Decay-causing bacteria get between teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.

Needing some alternatives to your go-to Halloween snacks? Here is a list of snacks to avoid, better options, and the best options for you and your child’s teeth!

Snacks to Avoid 

These are the chewy, sticky, candy that gets stuck in the grooves and crevices of your teeth making it hard for saliva to flow and flush out your mouth which can lead to tooth decay. Sour candy has a high acidity content which can break down the enamel and lead to tooth decay. If you choose to consume these treats on Halloween be sure to implement the tricks above like brushing your teeth and flossing  so that you can have a healthy – cavity free Halloween!

  • Gummies  – gummy bears, gummy worms, jelly beans, fruit snacks, etc. 
  • Caramel
  • Sour Candy
  • Bubble Gum

Better Choices 

Better snack choices for Halloween include milk chocolate, fruit, and snack-sized packages of pretzels and crackers. These options are less sticky and do not have high acidity and are therefore less harmful to your teeth than gummies, caramel, sour candy, and bubble gum! Even though these are better options, it is still important to limit the consumption of these snacks because proper teeth health is less on what it consumed and more on how often you consume it. Be sure to implement the tips above if you are planning to consume these treats as well. 

  • Milk Chocolate
  • Pretzels 
  • Crackers
  • Fruit – non-candied or caramel topped 

Best Choices 

Dark chocolates contain antioxidants that can hinder bacteria from sticking to the teeth, battling tooth decay and preventing infections in the gums. Sugar-free gum made with the ingredient xylitol promotes the growth of tooth-protective, non-acidic bacteria which can make it nearly impossible for bacteria and plaque to form on the teeth. While these are some of the best alternatives to your typical candy consumption on Halloween, we still recommend that you implement the tips above to help promote healthteeth, prevent gum disease and tooth decay. 

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Sugar-Free Gum

Halloween is the season that brings out the inner kid in all of us and it’s the time of year when it’s going to be practically impossible for most of us to stay away from the candy and other sugar-filled treats.  Rather than forgoing the sweets altogether, just try to incorporate some of these tips over the next few weeks to protect your teeth and promote healthy gums. 

If you need a tooth fixed, or your teeth cleaned, or a fluoride treatment during, or after, Halloween be sure to schedule a visit online or call us at . Have a safe and happy Halloween from all of us at Insert Dental Practice name!