Dr. Ryan Hussong and the rest of us at Cornerstone Dental would like to wish you all a safe and happy Halloween! There’s no denying the fact that today is mainly about candy, and how much of it we can acquire and consume. Of course, we advise caution when indulging in anything that can harm your teeth, and candy is typically at the top of that list. To guard your teeth during the Halloween candy-fest, your Polk City dentist advises a candy-eating strategy to help protect your oral health.
Candies to Avoid or Minimize
Regarding tooth decay, the most notorious aspect of candy is its sugar content. While sugar does not directly cause tooth decay, it feeds bacteria in your mouth that turn it into acid, which does directly cause tooth decay. The acid erodes your tooth enamel, which covers and protects the top part of your tooth (or crown). It also saps minerals from your teeth that your enamel would normally use to strengthen itself, and once enamel is too weak to repel bacteria, the germs can slip past to the softer underlying layers of tooth structure. Sour candies tend to be more acidic and can initiate tooth decay directly, without the aid of bacteria. Chewy candies should also be avoided, since they can stick to your teeth and continue feeding acid-producing germs.
The Better Candy Choices
Most people will not be disappointed to learn that chocolate is a relatively safe option for Halloween snacking. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, contains antioxidants that help lower blood pressure and control inflammation, which can prove valuable when fighting gum disease. However, chocolate is also loaded with sugar, so indulge with moderation. Too much chocolate may negate its benefits by directly contributing to tooth decay. Sugar-free gum and hard candies can increase your flow of saliva, which is your mouth’s natural defense against harmful bacteria and oral health issues. Chewing sugarless gum can also help dislodge food particles that are caught between your teeth, increasing your chances of cavity prevention.
After-Halloween Tooth Care
Regardless of your candy choices, be sure to brush your teeth well before going to bed. Wait at least 30 minutes after your last piece of candy. Your enamel will be soft from the night’s activities, and brushing too soon could strip enamel from your teeth. To learn more about cavity prevention, schedule a consultation with your Polk City dentist by calling Cornerstone Dental at (515) 984-6001. We serve families from Des Moines, Polk City, Ames, Ankeny, Alleman, Bondurant, Grimes, Johnston, and the surrounding communities.