Kids always get reprimanded for eating too much Halloween candy, but no one is really policing the adults. So here are some friendly reminders about how to behave before, after, and on October 31, and how best to indulge in any candy treats.
Go Ahead and Gorge
Mentally, it may seem more logical to eat a piece of candy here and there throughout the day. You feel less guilty and you allow yourself the pleasure of indulging in more goodies than you might at one sitting. But rationing your stash is actually one of the worst things you can do for your teeth.
Slowly snacking on Halloween candy throughout the day, day after day, is like giving your teeth a continuous sugar- and acid-laced bath, which can lead to plaque build-up and cavities. It’s better to eat half a dozen candy bars at once than to sneak one every few hours, providing you follow your binge by brushing your teeth. The acid still builds up in your mouth when you eat a lot of candy, but your saliva will naturally neutralize these offenders over a short period of time. Eating candy throughout the day means your saliva can’t keep up with the continuous acid wash and your teeth are under constant attack.
The Worst Candy Offenders
When it comes to hard candy, lollipops, and jawbreakers, there are two major dental offenses that occur. One, people suck on the candy for a lengthy amount of time, thereby exposing their teeth to cavity-causing sugars and bacteria. Or two, people bite into the candy, and that satisfying crunch is responsible for breaking fillings, teeth, orthodontic work, or cosmetic dental work.
Taffy, caramel, and licorice are also some of the most damaging sweets to your teeth because they tend to stick to every surface inside your mouth, including the grooves of your teeth. And those sour-tasting gummies that you just can’t stop eating typically have more acid than other types of candy, which you already know isn’t a wise choice.
The Smarter Candies
Surprisingly enough, chocolate is one of the better choices when it comes to eating Halloween candy. It is more water soluble and is washed away more quickly by saliva.
Sweets flavored with xylitol – a sweetener derived from natural sources that helps prevent plaque build-up – are also a wise choice because the ingredient has been shown to fight cavities. This is what makes sugar-free gum one of the best treats you can eat.
Ultimately it’s about the frequency of candy-eating, not the volume – at least when it comes to your teeth. As for your waistline, that’s an entirely different story.
Need a thorough cleaning? Suspect a cavity? Concerned about tooth decay? Schedule your consultation with Dr. Ken Cirka at his Philadelphia dental office to stake the vampires that attack your oral health.