You may have heard dental professionals hate Halloween, but that is simply not true! We love this season just as much as the next costumed trick or treater. This said, it's part of our profession to exercise caution around things like excess candy intake around Halloween, for both you and your children. So while we'll gladly join you for a happy Halloween, we also would like to share these tips for a safe and healthy Halloween for you and your teeth.
If we simply said: "Stay away from all candy on Halloween," we would asking something unrealistic. But we certainly can't support unchecked consumption of candy, be it if you're a child on their first trick or treat or a parent holding the candy bowl at the door. So the most important thing to remember this Halloween season is to consume candy or other treats in moderation. Snacking on candy all night while trick or treaters come and go, or pulling candy from the office Halloween bowl several times a day can take a toll on your teeth. Select a few times to indulge this season and limit it to that.
Not all candy is created equal as far as safe and practical choices for Halloween goes. Chewy candy is a particularly notorious Halloween treat option. While it is generally soft on your teeth, it also likes to stick to your teeth, particularly in hard to reach places. The longer the chewy candy stays stuck to your teeth, the more decay and damage it does. Since it takes your saliva a long time to remove the chewy candy, dentists recommend that you stay away from these options in the candy bowl. Taffy, sour worms, gummy bears and the like are best avoided during the Halloween season.
Hard candy can be as harmful as chewy candy, but in a different way. Many of these candies require you to hold them in your mouth for a period of time to enjoy them. While this isn't as harmful as chewy candy, the urge to bit down on the hard candy is. Should you become impatient and bit down on the hard candy, you could do significant damage to your teeth. The better option is to eat a lolly pop or similar candy with a soft stick attached so the urge to bite down is less. This is just like eating ice, you should never do it because it could damage your teeth.
Sugary drinks like soda and other beverages remain something to avoid in any significant quantity this Halloween. Instead focus on consuming water to help wash the sugar away from the moderate amount of candy you may consume. Saliva production is important as it helps clean your teeth and remove harmful particles, and water is the best way to keep your saliva up.
So now that we've crossed most of the fun candy items off the list, what can you eat during Halloween?! Truth is many fun options are still available. Chocolate for one is a fairly safe option when it comes to dental care, again as long as it is consumed in moderation. Lolly-pops are a fairly safe option, as long as you don't bite down on them as you consume them. There are sugar-free varieties of candy available as well, which can replicate much of the joy of Halloween candy without the excessive sugar intake.
Ok so you or your children want to cheat a little bit and have a few pieces of candy. If you time it right, you can minimize the risk sugary candy presents to your teeth. The best way is to treat candy like a desert after a meal. Your saliva production will increase as you consume lunch or dinner, and then you can have a couple pieces of candy afterward. As a bonus, you'll be full from your meal and less likely to gorge on too many pieces at once. Don't forget to drink water to help flush the sugars off your teeth, and after waiting a while you'll want to brush and floss your teeth regularly.
While it is easy to say: "No Candy For Halloween," we prefer to stay a little more realistic here at Grace & Leedy Family Dentistry. A few pieces of candy are ok this Halloween season, as long as you stay away from the really chewy stuff and eat them around meals. Please exercise moderation so your teeth will stay happy and healthy for many Halloweens to come. Don't forget to schedule you're next checkup if you're overdue, especially as the holidays approach. Contact us today to schedule your appointment. Enjoy this fun time of the year and have a safe and enjoyable Halloween!