Halloween is a favorite holiday for kids and adults alike. Once the costumes are packed away, it’s time to start enjoying the trick-or-treating haul. Halloween candy is a fall gift that keeps on giving long after the holiday ends – but if you aren’t careful, that gift could also include cavities. Aside from forgoing candy altogether (which certainly wouldn’t be a fun way to celebrate the holiday), how can you ensure that the post-Halloween festivities don’t compromise oral health?
Here’s the good news: children and parents alike can indulge in Halloween candy without ruining their smile! The trick is to make sure that you are still practicing smart oral health habits. Here are some of our favorite tips to help you enjoy the spoils from trick-or-treating, cavity-free.
Don’t snack throughout the day
It’s the frequency of eating sugar that harms teeth, not the amount. The “good” bacteria in your mouth break down sugar and convert it into acid. It takes anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes for acid to leave your mouth – and in the process, it is slowly weakening your enamel and leaving room for cavities to develop.
If you eat one piece of candy in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening, you are giving acid three different opportunities to eat away at your enamel. Instead, eat those three pieces of candy at the same time (and brush your teeth right afterward).
Drink lots of water
This is a good tip to follow at any time of year, but especially during the holiday season, where we tend to eat more often (and consume more sweets than usual). Drinking water throughout the day keeps your mouth hydrated, stimulates saliva production, and helps wash away harmful bacteria that cause bad breath and tooth decay. Take this as an opportunity to make it a habit to drink four to six glasses of water each day.
Avoid sticky and gummy candies
Sticky and gummy candies can be a nightmare for your oral health. The residue from caramels, taffy, and similar candies easily get stuck on the surface and crevices of your teeth. While saliva will wash the sugar particles away in time, it takes much longer – making it easier for your enamel to wear down and for decay to set in.
Brush, floss, and rinse
Enjoying Halloween candy without compromising your oral health is absolutely possible, so long as you have a solid oral hygiene routine in place. Make sure that you are brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash at least two times each day. Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush, too: the ADA recommends replacing your toothbrush every three to four months.
Once the trick-or-treating is done, the costumes are put away, and the decorations taken down, it’s time to start enjoying the best part of fall: Halloween candy. But with increased levels of sugar, you’ll also have an increased risk for cavities. Don’t forget to schedule your next appointment with Steger Smiles to identify any warning signs for cavities as soon as possible! We’ll help you keep your teeth – and your children’s teeth – bright, strong, and healthy throughout the holiday season.