With a few tips from our experienced family dentists, you can prevent all that Halloween candy from decaying your children's teeth. And, let's face it, maybe prevent cavities in your own teeth because what parent doesn't partake at least a little in the All Hallows' Eve sweets?
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Which Candies are Worst for Teeth?
Some candies are worse than others when it comes to dental health. Some of the worst offenders are:
- Sticky candies
- Chewy candies
- Hard candies
Sticky candies stay on the teeth longer, increasing the amount of time enamel is exposed to cavity-causing sugar. Things like taffy, gummies and lollipops, or any chewy and sticky sweet, tends to latch onto tooth enamel.
Hard candies may chip or crack a tooth if bitten into or chewed. Remind your little trick-or-treaters that lollipops and similar sweets are supposed to dissolve slowly in your mouth and shouldn't be bitten into. Our teeth are really strong, but they can break with the right amount of pressure.
Some sweets that are friendlier to teeth are:
- Peanut butter cups
Nevertheless, Halloween is a once-a-year event. Like all holidays, we think Halloween is a great reason to enjoy sweet treats and goodies! Below, we discuss some ways you can keep your teeth clean without missing out on your favorites candies.
Tips for Fighting Cavities
The following tips and advice help you fight cavities not only at Halloween but 365 days a year:
- Resist snacking on candy throughout the day. You want to limit the frequency of contact between sugar and your tooth enamel. Eating candy throughout the day means your teeth are exposed to sugar throughout the day, giving bacteria multiple opportunities to feast on the sweets and cause cavities as a result.
- Eat candy as part of a meal. When you eat sweets with a meal – as the dessert, for example – your mouth will be better equipped to neutralize the acid produced by bacteria in your mouth. You'll have more saliva in your mouth when you eat a meal. This saliva helps dilute cavity-causing acid and to rinse away food particles on your teeth.
- Rinse with water. Rinse after eating candy. It helps to wash the candy off your teeth.
- Chew sugarless gum. Another way to stimulate saliva is by chewing gum. The gum also picks up candy leftovers from your teeth. According to the American Dental Association, studies have shown that chewing gum for 20 minutes after a meal reduces tooth decay.
- Wait 30 minutes, then brush. Brushing your teeth is, of course, a great way to prevent cavities. But it's best practice to rinse with water after candy, then wait at least 30 minutes before brushing. Certain foods, especially acidic foods, soften your tooth enamel for about a half hour. While soft, the enamel will be especially sensitive to toothbrush bristles. The surface of your teeth will harden again about 30 minutes later.
Cleanings are Essential to Good Dental Health
Is it time to schedule your next checkup and cleaning with our experienced Rochester dentists? At the practice of Dr. Meredith Pogal and Dr. Paul Sussman, we are enthusiastic about helping our patients achieve and maintain great dental health. To schedule your appointment, please call our experienced staff at 585-227-4390. For years we have proudly provided dental care to people from across the region, including the cities of Fairport, Webster and Greece.