October is here, and it's National Dental Hygiene Month. This isn't a surprise, since Halloween is also around the corner and the holiday fun can have a big impact on teeth.
With Halloween comes treats, and the sugar in these goodies could play some tricky games on your teeth if you're not being careful. This is because your mouth has bacteria that go after the sugar left behind by the candy. This causes acid, which contributes to cavities.
However, this doesn't mean you should put your costume away and give up on Halloween. Halloween is supposed to be fun, and giving, getting, and eating candy is a huge part of it. Eating Halloween candy as a splurge is fine, but only if you're brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing once daily all year long. It wouldn't hurt to learn about the candies that have the most impact on your teeth as well.
Types of Candy That Can Adversely Affect Your Teeth
There are all kinds of candy available today -- and some can cause more damage to your teeth than others.
1. Sticky Candy
Candies filled with coconut, caramel or nuts, and taffy are the worst types of candy for your teeth! They stick to your teeth (especially in the grooves), and stick to the gums and everything else inside your mouth. The longer you let the candy stick to your teeth, the longer you're allowing the bacteria to feed on it and thereby produce cavity-causing acid.
In addition, sticky candy is a common cause of dental crowns and dental fillings popping loose or coming out of your mouth or breaking. To prevent an avoidable dental emergency, we advise you to pass on the sticky candy!
2. Sour Candy
Also bad for your teeth is sour candy, because it is much more acidic, which leads to tooth enamel breakdown. While Pixie Stix or other powdery candy dissolves in your mouth quickly and don't require you to chew, they are all sugar and can:
· Lower your mouth's pH, making it much more acidic
· Provide sugar for bacteria to feed on
· Lead to cavities
3. Candy Corn
The main ingredients in candy corn are sugar and corn syrup, both of which could lead to tooth decay. Bacteria thrive on the sticky sugar left behind on your teeth,, leading to the production of acid that can damage your teeth.
While lollipops may seem innocent enough, because you savor them for so long, it makes them especially bad for your teeth. You're giving bacteria more of the sugar and acidity it needs, which increases your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Your best bet -- forget the lollipops or go sugar-free.
Chocolate isn't as bad as the other candies listed. It doesn't stick to your teeth as long as other types of candy (unless there is caramel in your chocolate), but you may want to choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate because it has less sugar.
Tips for a Mouth-Healthy Halloween
Here are some good dental hygiene tips to keep your teeth healthy after Halloween:
1. Pick Wisely
Some sweets and candies are worse than others when it comes to your teeth's health. If you plan on indulging in candy this Halloween, remove the treats from the Halloween bag that are considered the worst for your teeth. Taffy, caramels, Jolly Ranchers, other hard sticky candies, Jawbreakers are a few of the sticky or hard treats to avoid.
2. Set Limits
Timing is important when it comes to eating candy. Don't eat it mindlessly while sitting through a movie. Snack on it during specific times instead, such as right after a meal. According to the American Dental Association, this is the best time since the saliva your mouth produces while you're eating your meal can help rinse the sugar and candy pieces away and reduce your risk of cavities.
3. Brush and Floss
No matter what time of year it is, you should brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day for the best teeth cleaning power. It's particularly important to brush your teeth before bed since sugar left to linger on your teeth all night long can increase your risk of cavities.
4. Have a Plan
You may be tempted to keep the candy hanging around, but limiting your stash is a better idea. Choose some of your favorites and donate the rest. There are organizations where you can donate candy to troops overseas, such as Operation Gratitude.
Contact Imagine Dentistry for your Dental Check-Up and Cleaning!
The scariest thing about Halloween shouldn't be cavities! Limit your sweets and candy and practice good dental hygiene.Schedule your appointment with Imagine Dentistry, for a check-up and cleaning. You may even want to look into a teeth whitening treatment!