At the end of October many people celebrate Halloween by dressing up in costumes and going candy-hunting. Although this is fun for the entire family, it is also important to understand the damage sweets can cause to teeth over time. Here are some holiday tips on how to enjoy that Halloween candy while still keeping your teeth healthy.
What causes a cavity?
Cavities are a leading chronic condition affecting children in the United States (CDC, 2019). Cavities form when the bacteria in the mouth eat the available sugars and produce acid, which breaks down the outer layer, the enamel, of the tooth. Cavities often develop between the teeth and in the presence of deep grooves.
Tips when satisfying your sweet tooth
- Limit sticky and long-lasting hard candies. For example, jellybeans and caramels stick to the teeth and will continue to be a food source for the cavity-causing bacteria. When this happens it’s harder for saliva and the tongue to naturally clear away the sugary residue. Hard sweets like lollipops take more time to eat, exposing your teeth to sugars longer.
- Snack with your meals – not in between them. Limiting the number of times your teeth are exposed to sugar throughout the day allows your mouth the time it needs to return to a healthy state. Eat your snacks right after dinner instead of waiting an hour and try to limit your meals and snacks to a total of five a day.
- Brush twice a day and clean between your teeth once a day to remove the plaque from your teeth.
TePe hopes these tips during Halloween are helpful!