For many of us, avoiding Halloween candy is difficult. (It’s just too delicious!) We all know it’s not great for our teeth, though. If you’re going to eat more candy than usual over the next week or two, you can at least use these tips to take good care of your teeth.
Dr. Gentry’s Tips for Healthy Teeth
- Eat Halloween candy right after meals. The saliva produced during meals will help dilute the acids produced by the mouth bacteria in response to the sugar and the saliva will help rinse away food particles.
- Avoid candy that lasts a long time. It’s the length of time the sugar is in your mouth that is the critical factor. The longer the candy is in your mouth, the more damage it can do to your teeth.
- Stay away from sticky candy. The longer the sugary candy is stuck to your teeth, the more decay will occur.
- Stay away from gummy bears, sticky fudge, and taffy.
- Stay away from sour candy. Sour candy is highly acidic and acids can erode tooth enamel.
- Drink more water. Tap water with fluoride is best. This will help wash away the candy.
- Eat good, healthy foods and don’t fill up on sugary candy. You need good nutrition for healthy teeth and gums.
- Stay away from sodas and sports drinks. The frequent contact with the sugary liquid will increase damage to your teeth.
- Chewing sugarless gum after eating candy will cause your mouth to increase saliva production, which will neutralize the acid in your mouth and wash away food.
- Brush as soon as possible after eating. If you ate sour or acidic foods rinse with water a few times first to neutralize the acid so you don’t push the acid into your enamel. Brush for two minutes.
- Floss! Flossing removes plaque and food stuck between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach.
- Visit your dentist regularly to catch dental problems early, and “treat” them before they get really scary. … Remember good oral health is a major contributor to good overall health.
by Philip A. Gentry, DDS
Fellow, Academy of General Dentistry
Dean’s Faculty, Clinical Assistant Professor
Department of General Dentistry
University of Maryland School of Dentistry