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.

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.