It’s that time of year when we all get a free sugar overload! “We need to make sure that if we’re going to eat the sugar and candy at Halloween that we do some things to make sure that the cavities don’t come along for the ride,” said Dr. Tony Thomas, lead dentist at Advanced Smile Care located in North Central San Antonio. Here are four tips for a healthy, Halloween smile.
TIP #1: Moderation is key!
We recommend that you brush and floss your teeeth after eating candy and that you eat your candy after a meal. The timing of all this reduces the chance of plaque build up and minimizes the potential for bacteria to fester on teeth.
“At meal time you are already introducing food into your mouth. Go ahead and have that candy as a dessert, then brush and floss teeth. Also make sure to drink water after you eat the candy. It will help wash some of the sugar off of your teeth,” said Dr. Thomas.
If you leave a bag of candy or bowls of candy laying around the home, the chances of eating candy at all times of the day is high. We recommend that you store your candy candy in drawer to keep it out of sight.
TIP #2: Toss hard and sticky candies
Hard and sticky candies are among the worst sweets for your mouth. When you eat a piece of hard candy, you either suck on the candy and keep it in your mouth for a long period of time, or you bite on the candy which may end up chipping or breaking a tooth. With sticky candy, the sugar tends to stick in the contours and grooves of your teeth. Unless you brush your teeth right after eating the candy, the sugar will sit on your teeth for a long stretch of time.
“Eating a lot of candy over a longer period of time and even sucking on lollipops is going to be detrimental and more likely to cause cavities,” said Dr. Thomas.
If you don’t want to throw out the candy completely after sorting the candy with your children, put it aside in an “adult bowl” but out of reach and sight of children. Just remember to thoroughly brush your teeth after consuming sticky candy.
Tip #3: Brush and floss
This should be a no-brainer, especially if you are going to be eating candy during Halloween. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends placing your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. You need to make sure you gently brush the teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day. With flossing, it is recommended that you use about 18 inches of floss. The ADA has a helpful step-by-step guide. “But if you do end up eating candy during the day it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add an extra time to brush after you eat the sweets,” said Dr. Thomas.
Tip #4 Drink water
Cavities are the most common chronic disease of children aged 6 to 11 years and adolescents aged 12 to 19 years.
The cavity-creating bacteria living in our mouths, feed off the residue of candy. If you drink plenty of water, the particles stand a better chance of getting washed away. The fluoride in our water also helps to protect our teeth, and is considered one of the nature’s better cavity fighters.
Follow these tips and you have a better chance not having teeth like the Halloween pumpkin you carved with your family.
Call us at (210) 366-3606 and get started