Once the trick-or-treating is over, it’s likely you’ll be left with a giant bowl of candy. If you have children, they’ll be thrilled that they not only have the sweet treats they gathered from others but also a full bowl to pick from at home. While it might be tempting to keep it within arms reach for the next month or so, this “harmless” idea isn’t so innocent. In fact, it might lead you to consume more than you think and, in the process, develop tooth decay or cavities. Let a professional at a family dentistry offer tips to help you maintain your dental health this time of year.
Keep to Your Routine
Whether you choose to keep that bowl of candy sitting around or not, you should continue to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste, floss at least once a day, and rinse with an antimicrobial, ADA-approved mouthwash. Following these steps will ensure your mouth is free of harmful bacteria and left behind food particles, including sugar. When too much sugar sits on the teeth for an extended period of time, it can lead to bacteria growing and burrowing into the tooth enamel. This creates decay and ultimately, cavities.
Drink Lots of Water
Water is one of the best beverages you can consume and not just around the holidays when sweets are often more readily available. This satisfying liquid not only helps your overall health, but it also keeps your salivary glands working at an optimal level, helping to flush out anything that could stick to your teeth. No matter if you’re eating a candy bar with your meal or waiting until hours later (which isn’t advised), make sure you’re drinking plenty of water.
Avoid the Sticky Sweets
For some people, chocolate is their best friend, so avoiding the sweet, sticky candies is easy. For others, not so much. Sticky, gummy, and fruity treats can be some of the worst candies to eat because of their ability to stay on the teeth for a longer amount of time. This raises your risk of developing tooth decay, especially if you avoid your regular dental hygiene routine. When buying Halloween candy, try purchasing chocolate instead, as this is less likely to stay around as long as that bag of Skittles.
Choose Sugarless Gum
Sugarless gum is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without the extra sugar. It’s also a suitable alternative to traditional candy. Both children and adults enjoy gum, so why not make this holiday a bit more dental-friendly? Chewing sugarless gum after eating can reduce your chances of developing tooth decay and allows your saliva to continue flushing out food particles and neutralizing acids from bacteria.
The post-Halloween candy craze doesn’t have to result in cavities that need filling. Simply be mindful of what you buy and consume and remember to keep these tips in mind to maintain good oral health around the holidays.
About the Author
Dr. Kevin Dann is a dentist in Toronto who received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Western Ontario before attending the University of Toronto and earning a Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1978. He has a wide array of certifications and special recognitions in the field of dentistry, and he spends 25 percent of his time teaching undergraduate and graduate-level programs at the University of Toronto. Dr. Dann and his team believe comfort, convenience, and peace of mind are essential contributors to good oral health. With regular dental checkups and cleanings, as well as good at-home oral hygiene habits, you can ensure you maintain optimal oral health.
If you are looking to improve your smile but are unsure of your options, contact us at (647) 559-3176.