TIPS FOR A TOOTH-HEALTHY HALLOWEEN
Avoid Sweet Snacks Snacking can increase your risk of cavities due to the more frequent exposure to
I’ve always loved fall: the cooling temperatures, the falling leaves, football, and now with four young children — Halloween. From the ghosts and goblins to the goodies, I’ve learned to love Halloween after seeing the excitement it brings my little ones each year. This year, I thought I’d pass along a few tips to make sure your Halloween is full of treats (and is tooth-friendly!). To help you sort through the trick- or-treat bag, below is a rundown of some common candies and their impact on your teeth, as well as a few tips for this Halloween season. Chocolate As far teeth are concerned, chocolate is probably the most smile-friendly treat in your bag. Chocolate is more easily washed away and dissolved from the teeth, and dark chocolate also contains much less sugar than other candies. Hard Candy Hard candies have a high potential for causing cavities due to the tendency to suck on these treats for longer periods of time. This essentially causes a “sugar bath” for your teeth that cavity-causing bacteria can feast on. If you do eat hard candies, try not to suck on them for long periods of time. Sticky and Gummy Candies Aside from the high sugar content, sticky and gummy candies tend to accumulate in the pits and grooves of teeth. These are some of the biggest culprits for decay, especially in kids! Try to limit these treats, and it’s especially important ensure proper brushing is occurring should your little ones have a “sweet tooth” for these kinds of candy. Sour Candy You might want to pass on things that make you pucker — especially the sticky ones that are coated in sugar! Sour candy usually achieves that sour taste by altering the pH of the candy. Some of the super sour varieties like Warheads have a pH in the 1.6–1.8 range. That’s just slightly less acidic than battery acid! Acidic candies begin to soften the enamel, and when paired with high sugar content, the risk of cavities or damage to the teeth is much higher! Timing is Everything It is best to eat candy (and other sugary foods) with meals or shortly after mealtime. This is due to the increase in protective saliva production during meals. Saliva helps to neutralize acids produced by cavity-causing bacteria as well as wash away food particles.
carbohydrates and sugar … especially if you keep snacking from the candy bowl! Instead, look for tooth- and body-healthy snacks like fresh fruit, nuts, and cheese.
Dr. Jones and family out trick-or-treating
Drink More Water Drinking fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay and dry-mouth and assist in washing away food particles. If you choose bottled water, look for kinds that are fluoridated. Stay Away from Sugary Beverages This includes soda, sports drinks, and flavored waters. When teeth come in frequent contact with beverages that contain sugar, the risk of tooth decay is increased. Many of these beverages are also very acidic, which further softens teeth. Chew Gum with the ADA Seal Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals helps reduce tooth decay, because increased saliva flow helps wash out food and neutralize the acid produced by bacteria. Sugar-free gum is also an excellent “treat” alternative that actually helps your teeth! Don’t Forgot to Floss! Most of us do a great job remembering to brush (Who doesn’t love that minty-fresh feeling?), but daily flossing sometimes gets left out of our routines. Floss reaches plaque and food particles a tooth brush cannot reach — especially in the areas most likely to develop a cavity! Don’t Forget Your Dental Appointments! Regular dental visits can help prevent problems from occurring and catch those that do occur early, when they are easy to treat. I hope the above tips are helpful in ensuring your Halloween season is full of treats and hopefully no tricks! If you aren’t already scheduled for your next dental visit with us, you can now book your appointment online at Jonessmiles.com or call 770-965-3048. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Halloween!
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