Now that fall is here and Thanksgiving has already come and gone, Halloween is going to be here before you know it…
That means it’ll soon be time to dress up in fun costumes, carve some spooky jack-o-lanterns and share scary stories with friends. It also means it’s going to be time for candy, and lots of it! Fortunately, eating all that candy doesn’t necessarily mean you or your children will end up having to deal with tooth decay or cavities this fall. Below, we’ve listed a few tips to help keep teeth clean and healthy this Halloween, so you and your kids can enjoy your sugary treats without having to worry about ending up in the dentist’s chair getting some teeth filled.
Some Candies to Avoid
When it comes to your teeth, there are some candies that it’s best to avoid, or at least try not to eat too much of. Candies that are sticky, like taffy or gummies tend to cling to your teeth, and can cause tooth decay more easily, since it is harder for the sugar in these treats to get washed away by the saliva in your mouth. In addition to sticky candies, hard candies that stay in your mouth for a long time such as lollipops or treats like cookies which can get stuck in the teeth can also cause tooth decay. Unless these candies are sugar-free, the length of time these candies stay in your mouth can increase the risk of tooth decay.
Eat Your Candy at Meal time
When it’s time for us to eat, our mouths produce more saliva than usual so food can pass more easily through our mouths, over our teeth, and down our throats. This increase in saliva also helps protect our teeth from the acids from food in our mouths while we eat. Due to this process, it is a good idea to eat candy and other sugary foods immediately, or shortly after a meal. By eating candy which has a high acidic content while production of saliva is higher, you will ensure that far less acid and bacteria remains in your mouth after eating, which can greatly reduce the risk of tooth decay. Also, try to finish your meal with a little cheese or milk as it will cut down on the acid in your mouth
Best time to Brush
Of course we always want you to brush first thing in the morning and right before bed. However, when eating candy or treats, it is best to brush your teeth BEFORE eating the treats and about 1 hour after eating the treats. It is best to let the saliva battle the acid attack and wait for about an hour before you brush again.
Halloween with Braces
If you have braces, you may feel like they sort of take the fun out of the Halloween celebrations, since there are a few candies and treats that you should avoid all together so your braces don’t get damaged. While it is true that foods like chewy and hard candies, nuts, popcorn, tortilla chips and caramels should be avoided there are still plenty of treats you can enjoy this year even with your braces. One candy in particular that is fine to eat with braces is chocolate. In fact, as long as you make sure to brush and floss regularly, you can eat as much chocolate as you like!
One Final Tip
You may be surprised to hear this kind of advice on eating candy from a dentist, but at South Surrey Smiles, we love Halloween and all the candy and treats that come with it too! That’s why our last bit of advice is to eat a lot of candy all at once! This is because candy has a lot of acid, which can be harmful to your teeth over an extended period of time. It is best to have once acid attack on your teeth rather than several throughout the day. Repetitive acid attacks on the teeth make your teeth more prone to tooth decay and cavities. Just make sure you don’t give yourself a stomach ache by eating too much! For more information on how you can keep your teeth clean this fall, feel free to check out our website, or you can like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to receive our latest updates on contests, promotions and other fun stuff. We hope you have a Happy Halloween!
Dr. Lesley Williams is a Certified Specialist in Orthodontics. She grew up in Victoria, BC with her parents and two sisters.
After being awarded her Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD) degree in 1989, Dr. Williams then spent six years as a dentist in general practice before deciding that she wanted to further her education by undertaking three extra years of highly specialized training in orthodontics. With her Masters in Science (Orthodontics) degree under her belt, she went on to sit the Orthodontic Specialty Fellowship exams through the Royal College of Dentists of Canada. To date, her status as an active leader in the orthodontic profession means that she holds the following qualifications and positions:
- Certified Specialist in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
- Fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada
- Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics
- Examiner for the Royal College of Dentists of Canada and the American Board of Orthodontics.
- Former president of the Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists (representing 2900 orthodontists from the 4 western Canadian provinces and 8 western American states).
- Active member of the Edward H. Angle Society of Orthodontists.