October 2018 – Halloween and Happy, Healthy Mouths

Halloween and a happy, healthy mouth doesn’t have to be scary! For most children (and adults) this is a tempting holiday because there is an abundance of sweets. Here are a few things to make the best choices to keep your mouth happy and healthy:

  1. Limit sweets to meal times. Unless it is a sugar-free product, candies that stay in the mouth for a long period of time subject teeth to an increased risk for tooth decay.
  2. Stay away from sweets that stick. The stickier candies, like caramels, taffy, and gummy bears, also take longer to get washed away by saliva. These candies can also pull crowns off or can cause breakage because they are usually stiff and require harder chewing forces.
  3. Chew gum instead. Instead of candy, consider gum. Studies show that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals helps reduce tooth decay, because increased saliva flow helps wash out food and neutralize the acid produced by dental plaque bacteria.
  4. Avoid beverages with added sugar. When teeth are frequently in contact with beverages that have added sugar, an increased risk of tooth decay occurs because harmful bacteria have a ready source of food.
  5. Avoid hard candies. Hard candies take longer to dissolve in the mouth, thus feeding the bacteria that are in the mouth for a longer period of time. It is also tempting to bite hard candies. Biting hard candies can create chips and breaks in teeth.
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