The Tooth Doctors
Tricks That Halloween Treats Play
Growing up, my dentist lived in my neighbourhood. Every Halloween I trick-or-treated at my dentist’s house and every year my dentist gave out the same thing – a box that included a small tube of toothpaste, a small toothbrush and disclosing tablets. Not everyone lives in their dentist’s neighbourhood and on Halloween night, trick-or-treaters will be collecting candy, and probably lots of it. As a dental professional, I routinely educate patients on the effects that sugar has on oral health. With Halloween just around the corner, I thought I might provide some tips and tricks to help avoid any dental disasters resulting from the consumption of too much scary sugar.
Choose treats that can be eaten quickly, which will limit the time the sugar is in contact with your teeth. Hard candies, like lollipops take time to eat and increase the period of time that the teeth are exposed to sugar.
Select treats that do not stick to the teeth. Chewy, sticky treats like gummies and caramels can be very damaging because they are high in sugar and take longer to break down and get washed away by saliva.
Avoid sour candies. The pucker-power of sour candies comes from varying amounts of acids. Sour candies can be so acidic that the acid can begin to dissolve tooth enamel directly on contact.
Enjoying Halloween candy with meals or just after mealtime is better than grazing on treats throughout the day. At meal times, saliva levels are increased and this helps rinse the sugars away from teeth. Following mealtimes is also an ideal time to brush, floss and rinse. While brushing and flossing after having treats is ideal, rinsing with a glass of water can also help rinse away some of the sugars and acids that produce cavities.
It is almost impossible to avoid candy at Halloween, but with these tips, hopefully this Halloween you can avoid the tricks that treats can play on your teeth! And who knows, maybe like me, you’ll find toothpaste and a toothbrush at the bottom of your trick or treat bag!