During the month of October, it is common to have more treats lying around the house. Some of these, like popcorn balls and cookies, are homemade. Many others are store-bought. Both may pose a threat to your oral health.
What are the Most Damaging Halloween Treats?
Sticky candy and treats (including popcorn balls) pose the biggest threat to oral health. Due to their ability to stick on and in between the teeth, taffy, caramel, gummies, and similarly sticky foods may be harder to remove – allowing them to stay in place, attract bacteria, and increase risks for decay.
Other treats that aren’t so good for your teeth include:
- Hard candy. Lollipops, jawbreakers, and suckers, when enjoyed slowly, can allow acid to build up and increase risks for cavities. When bitten, they can chip, crack, or even break teeth
- Sour and citrus candy. Containing both sugar and acid, sour candy causes damage on two fronts and can result in rapid tooth decay
- Powdered candy. While Pixie Stix and similar powdered candies are only in the mouth for a short period of time, they have a pH similar to battery acid, making them potentially very harmful to tooth enamel
- Dried fruit. Often touted as a “healthy” alternative to candy, dried fruit poses many of the same problems as other sticky and sugary treats, and will increase risks for cavities and decay
Protecting Your Teeth (Even if You Eat Candy)
Avoiding the worst Halloween candies for your teeth is the surest way to protect your teeth from their dangers, but maintaining good oral hygiene habits can help a lot as well. If you choose to enjoy Halloween candy, make sure you are extra vigilant in your post-snack cleaning.
To protect your teeth from decay and infection, take time to:
- Brush your teeth after every snack. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to prevent enamel damage and brush for at least two minutes after eating sugary snacks
- Floss at least twice a day. Morning and night, before you brush, floss your teeth to remove sugary and sticky substances from in between teeth
- Limit candy consumption to one time daily. This will help ensure you are not continuously assaulting your enamel and make it easier to maintain a healthy smile during the Halloween season
Bear in mind that foods high in sugar and acid can soften tooth enamel, making it best to wait for at least 30-minutes after eating them to brush your teeth. Drinking plenty of water during this time will help wash away some of the enamel-damaging substances and assist in keeping your teeth healthy and strong.
Visit our Office to Keep Your Smile Healthy and Bright
Preventing tooth decay and infection starts at home, but don’t forget the importance of routine cleanings and examinations. Performed every six months, these visits allow us to remove tartar and calculus that has hardened below the gum line and in between teeth, and are an essential part of maintaining a healthy smile for life.
If it has been longer than six months since your last cleaning, call NYC Smile Design at 212-452-3344 and schedule an appointment today. Located in Manhattan, we serve patients living in all surrounding areas of New York.