Trick or treat! It’s that time of year when you can send your kids out with a costume and a bag and they will magically return with all sorts of delicious snacks: chewy candy, hard candy, small candy, big candy and – one of our personal favorites – peanut butter cups. Adults and kids alike can enjoy these treats without having to worry too much about their health – including how that candy can have an effect on your teeth.
Ready for a guilt-free Halloween? Here’s how to do it:
1. Choose Wisely
Let’s get the bad new out of the way first: There are some candies you should probably avoid if you are concerned about your teeth. For example, when you chew hard or sticky candy, it can get stuck in your teeth. At our dentist office in Charlotte, we have seen how over time, food stuck in your teeth breaks down and can lead to tooth decay. The exception to this is a sugar-free candy.
2. Pair It!
You know what goes really well with candy? Water! Make sure you are drinking fluoridated water, especially after eating candy. Water rinses the mouth of leftover pieces of food, and that fluoride will help prevent tooth decay.
3. Take With Food
When you eat a meal, your saliva production increases. This is because your body knows it needs saliva to break down foods. As a bonus, saliva also rinses out food particles from your mouth. Therefore, if you are going to eat candy, make sure to do it with your meal or shortly afterward, when saliva production is high.
4. Chew Gum
If that bag of treats has sugarless gum in it, chew it! When you chew gum (has to be sugarless) for 20 minutes after eating a meal, it can help to reduce tooth decay. This is again because of our old friend, saliva. Chewing gum increases the flow of saliva.
5. Brush and Floss
Halloween can be tiring. There’s a lot of walking, chasing the kids and staying up late while the sugar high subsides. No matter how tired you are, though, please remember to floss and brush those teeth before going to bed! Treats like popcorn and certain types of candy can get stuck between your teeth, and flossing can dislodge those pieces before they become a problem.
Lastly, everything in moderation. If you binge-eat candy, odds are it won’t be good for your health. So pick a small piece and treat yourself!
We hope you have a safe, healthy and very happy Halloween!