Happy Halloween! Are you a witch? Are you a skeleton? Are you a zombie? Whatever awesome costume you will be wearing I’m sure you will all look amazing! Being a dental provider, you just know we have to put our 2 cents out there. It’s almost synonymous these days, dental provider, candy and teeth. I know, I know its witch-ful thinking that we can eat as much candy as we want and our teeth not be affected in some way.
Today we know that the real problem isn’t so much sugar, but the streptococcus bacteria in our mouths that like to feed on it. It’s definitely more about the amount of time it is allowed to remain in contact with the plaque on your teeth (that’s where the bacteria hang out).
Sugar free candy or dark chocolate is best for your teeth, candies that dissolve quickly, such as Smarties, are also a better choice. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that is found in some candy that has proven to be beneficial to our teeth. It increases salivary flow which in turn decreases the plaque population. Furthermore, it is the only sweetener that plaque cannot metabolize. Research shows that 5 exposures a day can harden tooth enamel reducing the chance of cavities.
The worst sweets for teeth are the sticky candies that sit on your teeth for a while. A dentists’ worst nightmare: ultra-sour, ultra-sticky, ultra-sugary kids’ candies such as Warheads and Sour Patch Kids. Even sour gummy vitamins can be culprits.
“These sour candies, when tested, have a really low pH, nearing battery acid,” says Robyn Loewen, DDS, a fellow in the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and a diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. “I liken it to an ice cube that’s been left on the counter. It melts the tooth.” Now that’s just frightfully, nightmarish….melting teeth?!
So go ahead eat all your mummy errr, yummy candy—just brush your teeth afterward. If you can’t get to a toothbrush, you can drink a glass of milk, which has a high pH and helps offset the acidity. Simply rinsing with water afterwards helps as well.
It appears it’s time for our coffin break! Have a fang-tastic time and happy haunting.