Halloween is upon us! With the arrival of Halloween comes the nightmare of every dentist, tons of tormented teeth due to your candy-filled nights during this holiday. Just kidding!
Halloween is not a dentist’s nightmare, in fact, in a recent study done by the ADA, or American Dentist Association, 75% of dentist’s offices hand out candy during October. So you don’t have to curb your candy cravings just yet or avoid the dentist for a few months while you do some heavy brushing, we aren’t going to tell you not to eat candy. Halloween is ingrained into us as a common childhood experience in American culture. Dentists won’t win the battle against Halloween, so instead, we recommend balance and here is why.
Why is candy bad for your teeth?
Sugar–especially refined sugar- is not very good for your body in large amounts, but it can do some damage to your teeth. However, sugar isn’t necessarily the bad guy when it comes to teeth, but rather the conditions sugar creates in your mouth.
Your mouth is filled with bacteria, and while some are beneficial, others are harmful. The bad bacteria is the real culprit when it comes to candy overloads and your teeth. This bad bacteria creates a weak acid when it consumes the sugar in your mouth. This acid is what erodes your enamel or the outside protective layer of your teeth.
Without proper dental hygiene, your teeth don’t stand much of a chance against the harmful bacteria’s acid and will begin to decay. Tooth decay is the process of bacteria producing high levels of acid that breaks down the structure of your teeth. This acid breaks down the enamel and allows for the formation of cavities.
Cavities that are left untreated can reach deep within the tooth, cause infection, and eventually kill your teeth. This will cause the infected tooth to rot, fall out, and often need to be removed to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria or infection.
However, for all of this to occur the food and bacteria would have to stay on your teeth for a while, which is why dentists stress the importance of brushing and flossing your teeth daily.
Does that mean you can’t have candy this Halloween?
Of course not! As we said, candy is okay as long as you balance it with proper dental hygiene.
Dentists recommend chocolate as the best candy to eat, which is great because chocolate tends to be one of the most popular handed out on the big night. Dark chocolate is probably better for your teeth than milk as it contains less sugar. Why chocolate? Chocolate washes off your teeth easier than other types of candy.
That doesn’t mean stock up on all the chocolate, as balance is key. Whatever sweets you end up eating, be sure to drink plenty of water, brush, and floss your teeth before you call it a night!