Kids love candy and Halloween is a great time to celebrate that love.
However, what is a parent to do if they are worried about tooth decay from all this candy consumption? Candy usually contains sugar which the bacteria that cause tooth decay. So eating a food loaded with carbohydrate or sugar feeds the bacteria that cause tooth decay.
To avoid negative impacts from candy, Doctor Saliba in Corona Del Mar recommends you do a few things: avoid excessive consumption of sugary treats and lessen the amount of time the sugar is present in the mouth. Here are some tips to get through candy season:
- Examine your child’s candy to see if it meets your approval.
To help lessen the chance for tooth decay, have them brush as soon as possible after eating the candy. If a child or adult brushes immediately after, the impact of the candy on the teeth is minimal.
Avoid sticky candy such as taffy, gummy bears, caramel, etc. Sticky candy adheres to teeth and causes decay. If you’re an adult with porcelain crowns, or bridge, sticky candy and tafy are your number one enemy.
If brushing soon after eating is not possible, then try the following:
- Consume the candy with a meal. The increased saliva production while eating will help wash the sweet off the teeth.
Rinse the mouth with water.
- Chew a sugarless gum (especially those containing xylitol) after snacking on candy. The increased saliva from chewing will help wash the sugar off the teeth and xylitol gums help control the bacteria that cause tooth decay.
- Eat the candy quickly in one sitting to decrease the amount of time it is contact with the teeth. Avoid eating any candy slowly over an extended time or over multiple sittings. Recent studies have shown that length of time eating a sweet can be more harmful than the amount of sweet consumed. This means hard candies, breath mints, etc. (long residence time in the mouth) can actually be worse for your teeth than a chocolate candy bar (shorter residence time in the mouth).
- Avoid sugary sodas. They are: 1) Loaded with sugar (often over 10 teaspoons per 12 ounce serving), 2) Are acidic enough to dissolve away tooth enamel, and 3) Are often sipped for long periods of time, resulting in teeth that are being bathed with sugar and acid almost continuously throughout the day.
All of us at Selective Dentistry wish you a BOOOOOOOtiful Halloween!