Halloween is almost here! And with it comes lots of fun: crazy costumes, haunted houses, festive decor, time with friends, and candy you crave all year. But the treats that kids gather from house to house can be tricky.
Candy is high in sugar, and sugar is one of the leading causes of tooth decay in mouths of any age. When sugary particles get stuck in your teeth, they cause a layer of bacteria and plaque to form. This bacteria breaks particles down for fuel which increases the acidity in your mouth, and that acidity can cause the protective layers of your teeth to erode. If those protective layers are worn down, the bacteria can permeate the surface and damage the teeth—potentially permanently.
If you have lots of different types of candy to choose from at the end of the night, we recommend avoiding hard candy that stays in your mouth for a long time and could cause breakage if bitten, sticky gummy candy that might not be washed away by saliva, and sour candy that might harm the enamel. The longer candy stays in your mouth, the higher the risk of eventual tooth decay.
Is your Halloween pile heavy on the chocolate? There’s good news! While chocolate is still sugary and can harm the teeth if it remains on the surface for an extended period, it does not bond to the nooks and crannies of teeth in the same sticky way as soft, gummy, or sour candies.
These warnings may seem scary, but fear not! There are tips you can keep in mind that will let you and the little ones in your life enjoy Hallo-sweets to the fullest. When it’s possible, it’s best to enjoy your Halloween haul shortly after mealtime. As you eat a meal, saliva production increases, which can act as a natural mouthwash to rinse away sugary particles and the acid produced by bacteria in your mouth.
For extra rinsing power, drinking a glass of water after indulging in a Halloween treat will help wash away sugar more than saliva can on its own. Brushing teeth after candy may seem like the most obvious way to minimize particle build up, but only after 30 minutes have gone by. Waiting 30 minutes before brushing allows the saliva to stabilize the pH of the mouth and helps avoid adding more corrosiveness to the surface of the teeth caused by acidic candies.
If you would rather stay away from candy altogether, treats like stickers, spider rings, and glow-in-the-dark toys keep Halloween fun.
If you do end up with more candy in the house than usual, there are ways to minimize the harm. Here are our tips for keeping the fright away from your bite:
- Remember that chocolate can be rinsed away relatively easily, while sticky, chewy, sour candy cannot.
- Allow for one or two pieces to be enjoyed each night right after dinner or close to mealtime.
- Wash treats down with a big glass of water to combat sugar overload.
As always, the most important tip is to stick to a thorough and consistent hygiene routine. That means brushing and flossing regularly, and coming to see us for cleanings twice a year. Call us today to schedule an appointment or book one through our online booking tool!