Halloween: Trick or Treat?
Just as the old adage implies, Halloween can be a time of tricks or treats. Amidst harmless spider webs, witches, skeletons, pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns, there’s a real increased risk of one trick that we all want to stay away from- tooth decay. Of course, that’s’ not going to prevent children and adults from enjoying this scary holiday. After all, it’s been a customary tradition since the 1950’s. By the same token, since the 1950’s we have learned we need to be aware that candy treats pose a risk for tooth decay.
How so, you may ask? Candy is a refined carbohydrate that tends to be sticky and adheres to your teeth. Once candy adheres to your teeth, it stimulates acidic build up on your teeth which can penetrate into your teeth, causing tooth decay. Candy intake also disrupts your mouth’s pH balance, further increasing acidity. According to Dr. Mark Helpin, Chair of Pediatric Dentistry at Temple’s Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry, it requires up to 60 minutes for your mouth’s pH balance to recover from one piece of candy. Dr. Mark Helpin also found that the longer the teeth are in an acidic environment, the greater the risk of tooth decay. In the end, it’s ok to enjoy the holiday with more than one piece of candy in one sitting. But, stay away from indulging in candy throughout the day. If you don’t, your teeth can be gobbled up by the ghosts and goblins of acid and bacteria. Here’s a few more tips to take the trick of tooth decay out of your Halloween.
- Make Halloween candy the dessert or snack of the day so you and your children don’t have haunting teeth following the celebration. Don’t make candy an all day affair or forget a balanced diet to take the spook out of your teeth.
- Brush teeth after candy eating or at least rinse your mouth out 3-4 times to help restore pH balance and to limit gory acidity.
- Try sugar free candy, cracker snack packs and trail mixes for trick or treaters and you’ll be the angel of the evening.
- Focus on flossing to help take the fright of tooth decay out of your life, it’s also good time to teach children how to floss which will remove candy that is caught between the teeth.
- Knock on the door of your dentist for a professional dental cleaning when the festivities have come to an end.
If you are interested in general dentistry or cosmetic dentistry, contact Dr. Mark Sweeney, an Austin Texas cosmetic dentist, for a consultation at 512-380-1300.