Candy, Candy and MORE CANDY!
As the children disguised as pirates, robbers, fairies and witches make their rounds of the neighborhood, they amass mounds and mounds of sugary treats! Before the night is over, many have already begun unwrapping and sampling the sweet fruits of their hard-earned labor.
It is not uncommon to witness the sugar highs and sugar lows as glucose and sucrose run rampant through their tiny frames. Combining too much sugar with late night exploits can often lead us to put those tiny pirates and fairies to bed without brushing their teeth!
This is when the real ghosts and ghouls come out to play!
It is a common misconception that sugar is the only culprit behind our cavities, but this is not the case! Sugar is simply the appetizer, main-course and dessert for the real monsters of Halloween Night: OUR BACTERIA!
By choosing not to brush and floss after consuming copious quantities of candy is essentially sponsoring an all-you-can-eat buffet for your resident bacteria Our hygienist, Debbie, explains: “When we eat candy, the bacteria in our mouths break down the sugar to make acids. These acids cause tooth decay.”
And while Decay may fit the Halloween aesthetic perfectly, no one enjoys the lasting effects of cavities and filling!
How can we protect our pearly whites from the real Halloween Monsters?
To Treat or Not To Treat
While it might be better to avoid sugar altogether, it is important to understand that not all candy is created equal. For example, chocolate is easier to wash off or brush away which makes it a better choice when considering your oral health! It’s about as dangerous as a Witch without her broom or a Ghoul in training, easily thwarted!
On the other hand, Dr. Haws suggests staying away from candies that are either sticky or hard. This is because “sticky candies will get stuck in the grooves in your teeth… and sucking on hard candies keeps the sugar in your mouth longer.” (Dr. Haws, Clear Creek Dentistry). Another danger of hard candy is the temptation to crunch down on it which can lead to a cracked tooth.
BOO to YOU!
Even while avoiding all the worst candies, you aren’t out of the woods yet! Some individuals have a higher risk for tooth decay based on personal bacteria. Like the invisible man, this can be hard to see…and a little creepy…
Are you scared yet?
Though it isn’t always obvious who is more susceptible to tooth decay, Dr. Haws states that you can keep an eye out for certain signs: “If family members have higher rates of decay or if you have more restorations or fillings, this may indicate that you have a higher risk for cavities due to the bacteria specific to your mouth” (Dr. Haws, Clear Creek Dentistry).
It’s important to be aware of your oral health history while indulging on Halloween Night.
The Best Tricks
Lucky for you, Clear Creek Dentistry has a few tricks up their sleeves to help you combat your monster bacteria!
According to Debbie, the “best way to keep teeth healthy at Halloween time is to eat candy in a short period of time.” Dr. Haws adds it is a good idea to “limit the frequency of sugar intake.” So eat some candy and enjoy it, but don’t have too much too often!
Your next best trick is to BRUSH and FLOSS! Nothing is scarier to those monster bacteria than a vigorous tooth brushing! Toothpaste is for bacteria what garlic is for Dracula. Floss is an excellent addition because it can reach the surfaces in between your teeth your toothbrush cannot.
If you can’t Brush and Floss right after eating candy, Debbie suggests rinsing your mouth with water. This is less effective than a good scrubbing, but still can help wash away the sugar and give your monster bacteria less to feast upon.
Another Trick is to keep your eye out for healthier Treats! Dr. Haws suggests handing out alternatives to candy like chips, crayons or play dough.
Another way to limit your sugar intake is sharing! If you are looking to get rid of extra Peanut Butter Cups, our Hygienist Debbie will happily take them off your hands. Or if you have too many Twix bars, Dr. Haws is here to help!