Halloween can be a dangerous holiday for teeth. It’s one of the times of the year when we see the most broken teeth, lost fillings, and cracked crowns. Plus, all that extra sugar can wreak havoc, causing cavities and tooth decay. But all it takes to keep your teeth healthy during Halloween is following a few simple tips—here’s some expert advice from our dental team.
Five Tips for Keeping Your Teeth Healthy During Halloween
- Don’t snack on candy all day. The longer that sugar stays in your mouth, the more your risk of cavities increases. Sugar feeds the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease, and prolonged snacking means your teeth are constantly exposed to sugar. So stay away from that candy dish at work! Try to limit candy consumption to a set time, like after lunch or dinner.
- Wait a while to brush your teeth after eating candy. Did you know that brushing right after a meal or snack can actually weaken your tooth enamel? Sugary and acidic foods and drinks temporarily soften your enamel and make your teeth more vulnerable to damage. Waiting 30-60 minutes before you brush will give your teeth time to rebuild their enamel. While you wait, drink some water—it will help wash away the sugar and help to remineralize your tooth enamel.
- Don’t eat candy right before bedtime. Letting sugar linger in your mouth overnight is never a good idea. It’s basically sending out an invitation to tooth decay and gum disease. You should always brush, floss, and rinse with mouthwash before you go to bed, especially if you’ve been eating candy or other sweet Halloween treats. But you also need to give your mouth a chance to wash away any leftover sugar before you brush your teeth. Make sure you (and your kids) stop eating candy at least one hour before bedtime.
- Avoid hard candy and sticky treats. You can keep your teeth healthy during Halloween by making some smart choices when it comes to treats. Try to avoid hard candies like Everlasting Gobstoppers and Jolly Ranchers, because you might accidentally bite down and crack a tooth. You should also try to avoid eating treats that might get stuck in your teeth, like caramel popcorn, and anything sticky, like candy apples or Laffy Taffy. Sometimes sticky candy is so sticky that it can pull out a filling or dislodge a crown. And if you wear braces, it almost goes without saying that anything sticky should be avoided.
- If you get candy stuck between your teeth, floss right away. Leaving candy between your teeth is never a good idea, but trying to dislodge it with anything but dental floss is even worse. Using your fingernails, a fork, or even a toothpick could seriously harm your gums. If you can’t get the candy out with floss, don’t try to force it, or you could chip your tooth. Make an appointment to see a dental hygienist who can remove it for you.
Keeping Your Family’s Teeth Healthy in Jarrell, Texas
We know that Halloween candy can be impossible to resist, and it’s okay to indulge once in a while, as long as you don’t go overboard. But if you do have a dental emergency like a chipped tooth or missing filling, or if you want to make sure your kids’ teeth are clean after eating all that candy, make an appointment at Jarrell Family Dentistry. Give us a call or schedule a visit online.