Halloween is fun and to trick or treat is more fun. Yesterday I heard a mom of four year old saying to a neighbour, “I am not sending my kid begging for candies this Halloween”. I asked why and she replied bluntly,‘Just see the damage it does to teeth’. The kid had a broken and chipped tooth just because of overeating sugary treats. Well, it’s not only kids, even adults can be seen munching on candies and bringing harm to their teeth.
Cosmetic dentist Dr. Timothy Chase a practicing partner at Smiles NY explains that while you don’t want to ruin your Halloween, knowing what kind of candy you are popping can be a key when it comes to helping you and your kid stay healthy and cavity-free. Going through children’s loot, separating the least and worst offenders, and then remembering to eat in moderation, are all ways to keep teeth in good shape.
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When it comes to washing down all those sweets, the dentist says water is your best bet. Dental research has proved that when someone indulge in sugary beverages with high acidity, having them brush their teeth to remove the sugar and acid from the surface isn’t enough — even if they do it within the hour as the damage has already been done. So wash out with water first.
So which sugary treat is right for you, find here in 12 ways to save your teeth this Halloween after trick-or-treating by eating the right candy.
1. Avoid chewy, caramel, flavoured, hard and creamy candies
According to Matthew Messina DDS, spokesperson for the American Dental Association (ADA) candy is harmful to teeth because the bacteria in the mouth burn the sugar, creating acid as a byproduct. The acid then dissolves tooth enamel, which is what causes cavities.
Chewy candies, including gummy candies and taffy, are among the worst offenders because they linger and stick around in your mouth, giving them additional time to cause tooth decay. Not to mention some are sticky and strong enough to pull out a filling, bridge, or braces.
Caramels are another sticky offender because they stick to teeth. Sour candies are bad for teeth on two fronts. They contain both sugar and acid other candies, limit how many sour candies and lemony sweets you or your child enjoys in order to prevent long-term damage any day of the year
Similarly suckers and lollipops actually do more harm than you might realize. Because they are meant to be enjoyed slowly, hard candies and their cousins on a stick linger longer, making it difficult for your saliva to do its job and causing acid to build up in the mouth. Making sure that you properly care for your teeth as soon as the candy is gone can help prevent cavities.
2. Instead of candies eat chocolate
It’s better to ask for chocolate as treats for Halloween as chocolate dissipates fairly quickly with saliva and doesn’t linger on the teeth for very long, it doesn’t pose as much of a risk for tooth decay as other Halloween candy options. Not to mention that chocolate bars are also among the healthier candy picks for Halloween treats. But like other Halloween sugary stuff, chocolates should still be consumed in moderation.
3. Get hands on the Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is the best candy for your teeth by a wide margin. Chocolate may be more effective than fluoride at fighting tooth decay, according to several studies, due to a compound in chocolate that helps harden tooth enamel. Compounds in cocoa beans also have an antibacterial effect that fights plaque.
4. Try Sugarless candies
Sugarless gum and sugarless candies, such as candies with stevia or candies that diabetics consume are also best. Sugar feeds bacteria and upsets the healthy ratios of pH and bacteria in the mouth, so a sugarless candy comes in as “best” after dark chocolate. But check the labels it can have other bad chemicals that are detrimental to health in another way.
5. Candy bar with nuts is good
Candy bars with a lot of nuts can break up the stickiness, and it’s the stickiness of a candy that increases chance of cavity, so having nuts as the protein/fiber that nuts provide, can break up the “badness” of the sticky parts of the candy. Nuts can also break up some of the biofilm of the teeth. You can try Payday which is extremely low in sugar — around 5 to 6 grams depending on the flavor.
6. Drink plenty of water when eating candies
Water can minimize some of the harmful effects of sugar, preventing decay. If you or your children eat candy and can’t brush immediately afterward, swig some water and swish it around in your mouths.
7. Eat sugary treats with meals
When candy is eaten at mealtime, saliva production increases. Saliva not only cancels the acids in mouths, but it also helps wash away food particles. If you love caramels and cannot resist then like other sweets, they can be best enjoyed after a meal and brushing and flossing immediately after eating limits the amount of time the stickiness sticks around in your mouth.
8. Always brush and floss your teeth after eating candies
By brushing immediately after eating, you remove enamel-eating bacteria. However, there’s an important caveat. When acidic candies (or acidic sports beverages, fruits, etc.) are consumed, brushing right after eating is more damaging to enamel than not brushing. Instead, set a timer for 30 minutes and have a brush after it goes off.
Also form a habit of brushing 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.
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.
9. Organize your sugar eating habit
It’s tempting to keep candies and sugary treats around, but your teeth will thank you if you limit your stash. According to Dr Ana Paula Ferraz ADA dentist, “It’s OK to eat that candy on Halloween but it’s important to have a plan. Have your family pick their favorites and donate the rest. Look for organizations that help you donate candy to troops overseas, like Operation Gratitude, or see if your dentist has a candy take-back program.
10. Chew gum with the ADA seal
Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals helps reduce tooth decay, because increased saliva flow helps wash out food and neutralize the acid produced by bacteria. You might even want to think about giving sugarless gum out as a treat instead of candy. Find one with the ADA Seal.
11. Have red pumpkin less sugary dessert as a Halloween treat
Break the traditional ritual of always distributing candies and switch to healthy treat by distributing and eating red pumpkin less sugary dessert. Making is simple and easy. Just take a ripe red pumpkin, peel it, wash it, grate it, sauté it in a bit of olive oil, add milk, sugar, bring to boil and when milk is mixed with pumpkin and mixture is tender thoroughly also solidifies then add nuts and serve hot or cold.
12. Visit a dentist in case of emergency
If you or your child feels pain in tooth after or in between Halloween visit an ADA Dentist. Regular visits to your ADA-member dentist can help prevent problems from occurring and catch those that do occur early, when they are easy to “treat.”
Save your teeth this Halloween by the above fantastic ways. Remember that best candy to eat this Halloween is not to eat any Candy at all. Enjoy Halloween by forming healthy habits and enjoy playing Halloween slots.