Can Halloween Candy Rot Your Teeth?
Many kids believe the perfect Halloween consists of getting buckets of treats and goodies! But consuming too much sugar is bad for teeth, especially when combined with poor oral hygiene. Read on to learn how the sugar in candy can lead to permanent tooth damage in the form of decay and cavities.
The Negative Effects of Sugar
When plaque bacteria break down sugar in your mouth, they release acid that is harmful to your enamel, the protective outer layer of teeth. Over time, that acid weakens and erodes the enamel. Early-stage tooth decay can be naturally repaired through remineralization. During this process, the mineral structure of teeth is strengthened via saliva, fluoridated water, and a healthy diet. But advanced decay and cavities must be professionally treated with a filling or root canal therapy to prevent infection and tooth loss.
The Worst Types of Candy for Your Teeth
The worst culprits are sticky, chewy, and hard candies, which are exposed to your teeth for long periods of time. Their sugar lingers on the teeth, allowing the bad oral bacteria to feast and produce their enamel-damaging acids in abundance. Sour candy is also a bad choice for oral health, since its acidity can cause additional damage to enamel.
Keep in mind that candy isn’t the only sugary treat that’s harmful for teeth. Limit your consumption of dried fruit, soda, juice, sports drinks, white bread, fruit snacks, water with added sugar, and alcoholic beverages.
Alternatives to Halloween Candy
Want to celebrate Halloween without eating too much candy? Try snacking on sugar-free gum or sugar-free candy, which help stimulate the production of saliva and can't cause decay. Or, consider fresh fruit, trail mix, dark chocolate, and low-sugar yogurt. These options can satisfy your sweet tooth without dramatically increasing your risk of tooth decay.
How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy
The best way to reduce the impact that sugar has on your teeth is to maintain healthy oral hygiene habits. Drink plenty of water after indulging in Halloween candy. Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day for two minutes each time with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste. Additionally, brush your tongue and floss every day, and eat a diet high in calcium-rich foods, like green leafy vegetables, nuts, unsweetened yogurt, and cheese.
Visiting us twice a year for cleanings and examinations is another way to ensure that your teeth and gums are as healthy as possible. So whether you need a routine exam or another dental procedure, visit us at Amber Hills Dental. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment!
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