Whether you go trick-or-treating this Halloween or not, you can be sure of one thing this month: The sugar is coming to get you. Over 160 million Americans will buy candy for Halloween this year.
By October 31st, 600 Million pounds of candy will be purchased. Got kids? 1 study estimates that kids can consume up to 3 cups of sugar eating their Halloween candy. Big deal? Well, that equates to about 170 sugar cubes. (Good luck getting the kids to sleep…)
From young trick-o-treaters to those just young at heart, it’s just a matter of time before the sugar tsunami hits. When it does, will you be prepared to protect your family’s teeth?
For kids and adults, it would require super-hero efforts to avoid the treats heading our way. So, since most of us can’t say “no”, at least we can be somewhat mindful about the types of sweets we eat, and try to protect our oral health.
6 Tricks to Protect Your Teeth from the Treats This Halloween!
- Eat Your Candy Wisely – Some Cause More Dental Harm than Others– When it comes to Halloween treats, some candy causes less harm to your teeth than others. The stickier the candy, the higher the risk of tooth decay. Sticky Candies like gummy bears, Tootsie rolls, Snickers and Skittles take more chewing time and are more likely to stick to your teeth. The longer candy stays in your mouth, the easier it is for the candy’s bacteria causing sugars to cause tooth decay and cavities. Sticky candies can also damage existing fillings or crowns. Next up are Sour Candies, like Sour Patch Kids, which are so acidic they can actually dissolve tooth enamel directly on contact! And don’t forget about Hard Candies like lollipops or Jolly Ranchers. Not only do hard candies sit in your mouth for a longer period of time, which allows sugars linger, but they also can crack, and break, your sweet tooth. When it comes to Halloween treats, chocolate is still better for your teeth, because it’s not as sticky, and it dissolves faster. Because of its cavity fighting antioxidants Dark chocolate is the best, but most kids won’t touch it.
- Get a Fluoride Boost – Since the sugars are coming, perhaps a little extra protection, like a fluoride treatment, will help keep the cavities away. Kids whose permanent teeth haven’t developed yet will benefit from a little extra fluoride. Fluoride treatments are applied directly to your child’s teeth every six months, as part of their teeth cleanings and dental check-ups. And fluoride treatments aren’t just for kids, adults with a higher risk for cavities will benefit from them too. Your sugar intake is probably going to go up over the next few weeks. If you or someone in your household already has a track record for getting cavities, a fluoride treatment, or mouth rinse, may help you keep your teeth cavity free this Halloween season.
- Eat Candy Around Meal Times – Instead of binge eating the candy at random times, include some of your treats with meals, like desert. You can also wash away some of the sugars in your mouth by eating an apple after candy, or drinking some water, and swishing it around.
- Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush – Heading to a Halloween treat filled environment at your work, or at a social gathering, pack a toothbrush. The sooner you can brush your teeth after eating candy, the better. And if you have kids, get them motivated to brush their teeth after they eat candy with a Halloween themed toothbrush. And now is a great time to verify – do you brush your teeth correctly?
- Designate a Treat Time – Since the treats aren’t going anywhere soon, set a “snack” time when some of the Halloween candy can be enjoyed, instead of snacking on it throughout the day. Let your kids pick one, or two, pieces of candy from their Halloween loot. Having a designated treat time will help reduce the amount of bacteria building sugars that stay in your mouth throughout the day, and will give your saliva a fighting chance to neutralize the bacteria.
- Schedule Your Family’s Teeth Cleanings + Check-ups After Halloween – If your family members are due for an appointment (or you), schedule your teeth cleanings and dental exams shortly after the carnage of sweets. Getting your teeth cleaned after a Halloween season of treats will be like visiting a spa for your teeth!
Halloween is the season that brings out the inner kid in all of us. Since you can’t beat the treats, at least try to incorporate some of these tricks over the next few weeks. It just might make a difference in keeping you and your family cavity free!
If there are any tooth breaks on hard candies, or you want a fluoride treatment or teeth cleaning during, or after, the Halloween mayhem, please call us at (206) 524-1000 to schedule an appointment or reach out to us online!
Happy Halloween! We hope it’s a festive and cavity free one for everyone this year!