The Huffington Post wrote that Americans purchase nearly 600 million pounds of candy each year for Halloween! That’s 24 pounds of candy per American per year. Children alone consume so much sugar on Halloween night (approximately three cups of sugar granules) that it would take a 100-pound child nearly two full days of walking continuously or 14.5 hours of playing full-court basketball to burn off. So, what does that mean for dental health? How can you keep your teeth and your children’s teeth healthy during Halloween?
Sort and Eliminate
When it comes to healthy candy consumption for Halloween, it is all about the process of elimination. First, eliminate candies that are hard, gummy, or sticky. Next, sort out chocolate that does not contain caramel into piles of your favorite kinds. Our favorites would be Dove milk chocolate or a Kit-Kat bar. Because chocolate dissolves quickly, chocolate is the dentist-preferred candy as it does not stay in contact with the surface of your teeth for very long. Hard and sticky candies are not easily brushed away and can linger in your mouth for hours. Prolonged contact gives rise to cavities and tooth decay. Once you sort the chocolate from the hard and sticky candies, make a donation or trade pile. You can donate unwanted candy to Treats for Troops or Operation Gratitude instead of throwing them away.
Timing is Everything
Now that you have the candy sorted, it is time to go to candy town. Of course, it would help if you didn’t make yourself sick by consuming 24 pounds of candy, but dentists recommend eating your candy at one time rather than snacking on it over a few days or weeks. This little trick will help you keep your teeth healthy during Halloween because the less opportunity for sugar bugs to adhere to your teeth, the better. Try to schedule your candy-eating for after dinner time, as it is more likely the excess saliva from eating your meal will help wash away any bacteria that lingers from the sugar. You are also in the habit of brushing your teeth after suppertime, setting yourself up for dental success.
Stick to a Regular Dental Routine
Our excellent dental providers at East Harmony Dental and the American Dental Association recommend brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each session. We also recommend that you schedule an appointment with your dentist twice every year for a routine dental cleaning, exam, and set of x-rays. Sticking with a regular dental routine will ensure that even if you give in to temptation and eat a few jawbreakers or chew a few pieces of gum on Halloween night, it is unlikely to cause any tooth distress or cavities. Of course, if you have questions about dental routines, additional tips for eating sugar and avoiding cavities, or concerns about your oral health in general, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to care for your smile. Happy Halloween!