Hope You Had a Tooth-Healthy Halloween | Your Sweet Tooth – And the truth about candy
We hope you had a Happy Halloween, a time to give in a bit to our sweet tooth. Between Trick-or-Treating and Halloween parties, sweets abound. Though processed sugars are full of dietary pitfalls, it doesn’t mean that, every now and then, we can’t indulge in a treat. Good home healthcare, which includes brushing twice a day as well as flossing, helps protect us from damage if we, on occasion, splurge. That said it’s still important to know that all sugar-laden treats are not created equal when it comes to our teeth.
You’ve heard for years that processed sugar is linked to tooth decay. But, how and why? Dr. Hochberg and Dr. Diora tell us that the reason is that when the bacteria, ever-present in the oral cavity, interacts with sugar, cavity-causing acid is produced. Over time these acids can become a strong contributor to dental decay – cavities. But, what is less known is that when we indulge in those treats determines how well our bodies are able to remove the sugar, lessening the teeth’s exposure to potential harm. When eating a meal more saliva is produced. Saliva is our body’s natural oral cavity ‘bath’, washing away not only the small bits of food that are not immediately swallowed, but also the acids produced by bacteria present in the oral cavity. So, it makes sense that if a sweet is ingested as part of the meal, or immediately following the meal, the saliva present during mealtimes helps. Those who snack on sugary sweets throughout the day, causing the teeth to remain in a ‘sugar bath’ are at a greater risk of dental decay.
What about those yummy gummies and small hard candies?
Unless they are sugar free, gummies, or any sticky candy, leave residue that sticks to the teeth, which cannot be rinsed off by saliva. And hard candy, again, unless sugar-free, may appear to be lower in calories, but, nonetheless, the sugar present in the hard candy mixes with the salvia and sits in your mouth longer than a piece of chocolate. And don’t be surprised to learn that even those ‘sourballs’, that are not sweet in taste, can be even more harmful; sour candies have a tendency to be higher in acidic content attacking the health of the enamel. Drs. Hochberg & Diora have seen countless patients present with teeth that have been compromised by the habit of sucking on hard candy throughout the day or making the mistake of biting down on the candy and fracturing a tooth.
Did you know that this is the best choice? The nature of chocolate, just a plain old-fashioned chocolate bar, makes it a more tooth-friendly treat. It is not as sticky and washes off of our teeth more quickly than other choices. And, if you choose a dark chocolate, which has lower sugar content, it’s an even a better choice and has some health benefits as well.
Keep your teeth health during Halloween and throughout the year by:
- Eating treats immediately following a meal
- Choose treats that are quickly washed away; avoid hard or sticky candies that remain in the mouth
- Chew ADA approved gum that is sugar-free after eating; it helps to maintain the increased saliva flow, removing more residue
- Flush out the sugar residue and small food particles by increasing water intake
- BRUSH & FLOSS
We hope you continue to enjoy those Halloween goodies as well as treats throughout the upcoming holidays!
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