Scary Good Dental Hygiene: Tips for Keeping Your Teeth Clean During Halloween
Don’t let Halloween spook your oral health routine!
Halloween is all about fun, trick-or-treating, and, of course, candy. As long as you consume candy in moderation and keep up with your dental hygiene routine, there is no reason you can’t enjoy a few pieces of delicious candy corn or a chocolate bar while you’re out and about on Halloween night.
Halloween edition of “did you know”?
According to this infographic , more than $2 billion will be spent on Halloween candy each year, and Americans will purchase over 600 million pounds of the sweet stuff to consume over the holiday.
Many people have an opinion on candy corn. Whether you love it or hate it, candy corn is the second most popular candy during Halloween and 35 million pounds of it are produced every year. Other sweet confections topping the list of popular items to purchase during the Halloween season are Skittles, Snickers, and M&Ms.
The average trick-or-treater consumes an average of 7,000 extra calories on Halloween night, which is equivalent to eating 13 Big Mac hamburgers! What is that in sugar? About three cups, or 220 sugar packets worth on Halloween night. To work off those extra calories from Halloween night, the average trick-or-treater would need to walk 180 miles to burn off all those extra calories. For example, that would be like walking from our Maryville, Missouri office to downtown Kansas City and back!
Don’t let that sugar rot your teeth–literally!
While your little ones might be tempted to load up on candy on Halloween night and then crash in bed after they are done trick-or-treating, it’s important that they brush their teeth after consuming sugar. Naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth combine with sugars to produce acid, which can then wear down the enamel, or hard outer coating of your tooth, which can lead to dental cavities, over time.
That is why it is so important to make sure you brush your teeth about a half hour after consuming any food or drink that contains sugar. Dentists suggest you wait that long because as the acid is forming in your mouth, it weakens the enamel, making the enamel easier to erode when you brush your teeth immediately after you eat.
Tips to navigate candy regulation during Halloween.
It can be hard to get your children to stop eating all of their candy on Halloween night, but letting them enjoy a piece or two is okay. Having candy in moderation, like having a fun sized candy bar instead of a full size candy bar, is a good compromise. Instead of allowing your child to snack on their Halloween candy throughout the day, compromise and allow them to have a piece or two after they get home from school or after dinner. This also makes the candy last longer!
If your child is a candy lover, dentists recommend avoiding sticky and chewy candy, like anything with taffy, caramel, or in the gummy family, because the stickiness of those candies make it harder for them to be removed from your teeth when you go to brush them. These candies also tend to stay on the surface of the tooth longer, which can cause tooth decay and cavities at a more rapid pace.
Increased enamel breakdown is the same reason dentists recommend people stay away from sour candies. They contain more acid, which is the source of their sourness, and acid causes more enamel wear down than other sorts of foods and candies. Also, dentists recommend their patients stay away from long lasting candies, like lollipops and hard candy, because those leave your mouth with prolonged exposure to sugar, and give it more chance to stick to your teeth and cause havoc.
If your child isn’t able to brush their teeth soon after eating candy, encourage them to drink water. Not only is water beneficial for overall health, but drinking water helps to rinse away sugars and bacteria that stick to teeth. Water also balances the pH levels in your mouth, so drinking water after eating anything is recommended. If water isn’t available, you can have your child chew on sugar-free gum after they have had candy. Chewing on sugar-free gum can help increase saliva flow and that helps to wash away bacteria and acid that is left in your mouth after eating candies.
Donate the candy you don’t want!
Just because your child got two pillowcases full of candy on Halloween doesn’t mean they have to eat it all! Many places offer candy buy-back options where extra Halloween candy can be exchanged for money or other gifts and toys.
Visit Compass Dental Group for your twice yearly checkup.
If it’s been more than six months since your last dental checkup, post-Halloween is a great time to see your dentist for an evaluation and cleaning. The team at Compass Dental Group are experienced practitioners who can not only help you maintain the health and look of your smile, but are here to offer advice on healthy eating and brushing habits, and to help you improve aspects of your smile you are not 100% happy with. Schedule an appointment via our handy online tool and get your smile on track for a lifetime of health.