Your Guide to a Happy Halloween

Halloween is well known for being a little kid’s dream and a dentist’s nightmare. Plenty of articles have been written identifying what candy is the worst for your teeth, how you should approach Halloween if you have braces, and what to do with the mass of candy stashed away in the pantry for the next three weeks. All of this reveals a few things: first, we really like candy.

But more importantly, we have teeth that don’t.

Today, we’ll focus on a handful of practices that, if followed, can help your teeth make it through this Halloween season relatively unscathed.

Pair Candy with Meals

As the ADA explains, “When it comes to sweets and your teeth, timing is everything.” When you consume a meal, your mouth produces more saliva. This means that enjoying that pack of Skittles right after you eat dinner instead of snacking on them throughout the day is actually better for your teeth. It gives your saliva the chance to wash away that acid and sugar instead of letting it simply sit on your teeth.

Drink More Water

If you wanted to dress up as superhero for Halloween, you might want to consider water. We’re not saying it has superpowers, but somehow, it can nourish your body, rinse away sugary residue, and generally support your oral health all by itself. Drinking more water will help rinse away some of that extra sugar you may be consuming this time of year.

Don’t Forget to Brush and Floss

Especially during the Halloween season, it’s crucial not to let go of the basics. You may find yourself on Halloween night gorged on treats and just wanting to fall asleep, but don’t skip brushing and flossing! If candy or debris from sugary treats remains on your teeth overnight, it will be able to feast on your enamel, causing cavities and rampant decay.

Don’t Brush Too Soon

This is an important tip to keep in mind. Many people might not realize it is possible to brush your teeth too soon after eating.

Are you a Starburst fan? Mike and Ike’s? Sour Patch Kids?

All of these candies are acidic, and acid erodes our enamel. If you try to brush your teeth too soon after consuming something acidic, you will only scrub the acid further into your teeth, causing more damage.

It is recommended that you wait at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth after eating or drinking anything acidic.

Dinner Before Trick-or-Treating

Not only will eating a full meal before candy produce saliva that will protect you against some of the sugar and acid of Halloween candy, it can also prevent you from over-indulging! If you have a full belly, the giant pot of Halloween candy that you’re passing out won’t seem as appealing, and it will be easier to moderate your intake on Halloween night.

Just Say No 

To Sticky and Chewy

Sticky candy—as the name implies—sticks to your teeth. This is a problem. When candy sticks to your teeth, the sugar can eat away at your enamel unhindered, allowing cavities to develop much faster than they otherwise would have. Sticky candy can also damage dental work such as braces, crowns, or fillings.

To Sour

Sour candy like Sour Patch Kids or sour gummy worms are problematic because of where that delicious sour flavor comes from: acid. The properties that produce the flavor we love also break down our teeth, causing rapid decay.

Consider better alternatives, such as sugar-free gum or dark chocolate.

To Sugary Snacking

Another factor that contributes to cavities is not just the sweets themselves, but the frequency with which you consume them.

If you sneak a few pieces of leftover Halloween candy one day after you’ve just eaten dinner, that’s one thing; if you have candy lying all over the house and car and are constantly snacking on it, that’s another matter entirely.

Frequent exposure to sugar leaves your teeth with no break, and no chance to recover from the harmful effects that sugar possesses. Instead, the ADA recommends that “If you need an energy boost, go for low-sugar options such as nuts, fruit, veggies or crackers.”

To the Stash

This tip should help you out in following the previous one: don’t keep a giant stash of candy in the house.

Just say no.

If that big bowl of Halloween candy is constantly staring at you from the counter, or even if you just know it’s hidden in the top of the pantry, your chances of mindlessly snacking on sugar shoot up. Instead recommends offering to send the candy with your child to school for their teacher to use as a prize, donate it to Treats for Troops, or find another creative use for it that gets it out of the house.

Be the Healthy House

YOU can be the influence for better oral health in your neighborhood.

There are plenty of healthy, fun alternatives to candy you could pass out instead when trick-or-treating rolls around—think clementines, pretzels, or even stickers! These things provide joy without hurting a child’s dental health, too.

Halloween doesn’t have to destroy your dream of joining the No Cavities Club this year at your 6-month dental check. With a little self-control and some strategic planning, you can keep your teeth safe this spooky season.

If you have questions about oral hygiene or would like to schedule your next appointment, please contact one of our Augusta Family Dental offices today.

picture of alternatives to candy for Halloween

About Our Team

Our team of dental experts has well over 30 years of combined experience in the field of dentistry. To learn more about them, please visit the team pages for HephzibahWashington Road, Summerville, and Medical District locations. 

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