With Halloween just around the corner, handfuls of candy will soon be heading your way. It can be tempting to indulge in dozens of sweet treats. While we aren’t saying you can’t enjoy the holiday, we want to make sure you’re not putting your oral health at risk by going overboard.
Dr. Hood Biggers and the rest of our experienced staff at Biggers Family Dentistry wanted to share some tips for taking care of your teeth during Halloween, so you don’t end up with frightening cavities.
Why Too Much Sugar Is Bad For Your Teeth
You probably already know that sugar isn’t good for your teeth, but do you know why?
As explained by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), there are hundreds of bacteria in your mouth at any given time. Many of those bacteria are actually good for your mouth.
But there are also bad bacteria that use the sugar you eat to make acid. That acid then damages the enamel of your teeth. Enamel is the protective, shiny outer layer of your teeth.
Those acids can then cause a cavity, which is a hole in your tooth. If left untreated, a cavity can get worse, causing damage to the deeper layers of your tooth, causing you pain. It could even cost you your tooth.
Fortunately, you don’t have to avoid sweet treats and sugar entirely. Your saliva contains calcium, phosphates, and other minerals that help repair your teeth. Fluoride can also help fix enamel that has been weakened. However, only so much repair can be done. If you eat too much sugar on a regular basis, you can cause irreversible damage.
It’s important to limit your sugar intake to give your mouth enough time to recover and repair the damage.
Protect Your Teeth From Sticky & Hard Candy
Sugary food that spends too much time on your teeth can put you at risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Stickier candies like gummies and taffy cling to your teeth and take longer to get washed away by saliva. Hard candies that you have to suck on for an extended period of time can also be damaging to your teeth because of the length of time they’re exposed to the sugar.
If you can’t seem to give up the chew try gum instead. According to the American Dental Association, when you chew sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal, it can help prevent tooth decay. Chewing gum activates your salivary glands. Saliva helps get rid of food particles and neutralizes acids that dental plaque bacteria creates.
Promote Dental Health By Drinking Water
Because you’ll likely be munching on more candy than usual around Halloween, it’s important to pay close attention to the other sources of sugar you intake. To avoid causing too much damage to your teeth and gums, replace sugary beverages with water. Water with fluoride is even better. Try to limit the number of soft drinks and fruit juices you drink, as they’re loaded with sugar.
Eat Candy During Meal Time For Healthy Teeth
It can be tempting to snack on Halloween candy at all times of the day. But to cause less damage to your teeth, try to eat candy and other sugary foods with your meals or soon after.
During meals, saliva production increases which helps cancel out the acids produced in your mouth and helps wash away food particles.
Happy Halloween From Biggers Family Dentistry
If there’s one thing to remember, it’s moderation. At Biggers Family Dentistry, we want you to have a fun and memorable Halloween. As always, we also want to make sure you’re taking good care of your teeth. Yes, it’s possible to do both!
Our friendly and experienced staff can help you maintain good oral health. We regularly see patients in the Brandermill, Midlothian city, and Chesterfield county areas. We want to see you at least twice a year for a checkup and dental cleaning.