Every Halloween, dentists see patients with dental problems caused by the type or quantity of candy they ate. Making the right choices in October when candy is everywhere can be the difference between a sweet smile or tooth pain in November. Dentists don’t want to ruin the fun, but they do want to help you protect your oral health.
1. Sticky candy can damage dental work.
Whether you have dental restorations like a tooth-colored filling or porcelain crown, or whether you have cosmetic dentistry like veneers or tooth bonding, Halloween candy can damage any of it. The stickiest, chewiest candies are the most likely offenders. Taffies, gummy worms, candy apples, caramel – sweets like this cling to your teeth like barnacles. Try to reach in there and grab a stuck piece of candy out and you could bring some dental work out with it.
2. Hard candy can break your teeth.
Hard candy is meant to be leisurely enjoyed. This kind of eating, however, is murder for your teeth. Sucking on a hard candy or lollipop for an extended time showers your teeth in sugar and acids. Even the eaters of these candies get bored – so they choose to bite into their sweets to finish them sooner. And that is the big mistake for many people – bite a piece of hard candy the wrong way and you can easily chip, crack, or break a tooth.
3. Chocolate is gentle on your teeth.
If chocolate is your candy of choice on Halloween, your teeth are safer than if you indulge in other kinds of sweets. Chocolate is sugary too and you will want to wash away the remains of it as soon as you can, but chocolate also melts quickly and doesn’t stick around on your teeth like other candies. Soft chocolate bars and peanut butter cups are gentle, just beware of any chocolate bars that contain nuts or caramel or crunchies.
4. Be strategic about when you eat your candy.
Certainly, kids will be happy to enjoy some candy at any time of the day (adults too, for that matter). Plan to eat your sweets with a meal or shortly after. Your mouth increases saliva production when you’re chowing down for a meal, so this helps cancel out acid produced by bacteria in the mouth. Food particles are also rinsed away more readily. Whatever you do, avoid snacking on candy throughout the day to minimize a constant sugar rinse for your teeth.
5. You can enjoy your candy without hurting your teeth.
It’s not just kids who need to learn and remember the dental lessons about Halloween candy. Grown-ups are just as guilty of indulging in all the trick-or-treat sweets. Do right by your oral health. Enjoy Halloween and its wonderful sweet stuff, but put limits on the candy in your house and the candy you eat, so no one is suffering from a toothache, or worse, afterward. Brush and floss carefully after a candy indulgence, and you should get through Halloween without being haunted by dental problems.
Time for your biannual dental visit? Schedule your teeth cleaning and check-up with Dr. Carole Sherrod Jewell or Dr. Pauline Robinson at Red Bank Dentistry in Red Bank, New Jersey.