Halloween is a holiday that is a favorite among kids and adults everywhere. Who wouldn’t want to get dressed up in a fun costume and hang out with friends and family and get free candy and treats? This annual tradition, however, can play some unwanted tricks on one’s teeth if one is not careful.
It is important to know what types of treats are better for teeth. The sugar in those treats can feed the bacteria in our mouths to produce acid. It is this acid that can contribute to cavities or holes in our teeth. Good oral hygiene including brushing and flossing will help to eliminate these destructive acid insults to our teeth.
Below are some of the most common candies and treats and how they can impact your teeth-
These are some of the most harmful candies for your teeth. Because they are sticky or gummy, they stay stuck in the teeth much longer. This give the bacteria in your mouth much more time to do damage.
Hard candy & sour candy
These can break your teeth if crunched just the right way. People who have braces will definitely want to avoid these hard treats. Even if you just suck on these candies, they tend to stay in our mouths longer which helps the oral bacteria create more acid and cause more damage. The built-in acidity of these candies can weaken and damage tooth enamel.
Popcorn kernels and shells can get stuck in between your teeth and cause gum discomfort. They are also usually sticky, sugary and hard, which covers the trio of poor treat choices.
This is probably the best choice for Halloween treats. Thankfully, chocolate is probably the most popular choice as well. It washes off your teeth easily and dark chocolate usually has less sugar than milk chocolate.
This Halloween, parents can do their part to eliminate tooth decay by sorting their child’s candy and removing the candy that will cause the most damage. Allowing children to eat as much candy as they want on Halloween is actually better than snacking on these treats daily for the next month. The less times teeth are exposed to the sugary, acid insult, the less chance of getting a cavity. The same thinking works for sports drinks or soda. It is better to drink those in one sitting (or not at all really), rather than sip all day and get decay.
Handing out toothbrushes and floss is actually the best idea; however, don’t place the blame on this dentist if nobody comes to your house next year! Happy Halloween!
Dr. Jamie Sahouria is Rohnert Park’s only full time, board certified pediatric dentist. She works at 1303 Medical Center Drive, where she and partner doctors provide dental care and braces for kids and adults. Dr. Jamie is a Rohnert Park native and is a proud graduate of The Ranch. She can be reached via her website at www.BrushFlosssSmile.com