Halloween Candy can be Spooky, but it doesn’t have to Haunt You!!
October can be a spooky season, but we want to help you not scare people away with bad oral hygiene! During this month, we’re sure that lots of Halloween candy is going to be haunting to you and your children. We’re all about indulging, but our team at the offices of Thomas L. Anderson, DDS and Associates want to make sure your also having a HEALTHY Halloween.
Here are some tips to keep your oral hygiene healthy this Halloween.
Have a Healthy Halloween
With Halloween just around the corner, which for most children means bags of free candy and easy access to all kinds of sweets. It’s also a pretty tempting holiday for adults. Here are 5 ways everyone can stay mouth healthy during Halloween and every day.
1. Stay away from things that stick
Besides how often you snack, the length of time sugary food is in your mouth plays a role in tooth decay. Unless it is a sugar-free product, candies that stay in the mouth for a long period of time subject teeth to an increased risk for tooth decay. The stickier candies, like taffy and gummy bears, also take longer to get washed away by saliva.
2. Think twice before picking hard candies
Besides how often you snack, the length of time sugary food is in your mouth plays a role in developing cavities. Unless it is a sugar-free product, candies that stay in the mouth for a long period of time subject teeth to an increased risk for tooth decay.
3. Try and eat candy with meals
We know candy can be hard to resist, especially have all that hard work trick or treating for it! If you can, try and eat Halloween candy and other sugary foods with meals or shortly after mealtime. That’s because saliva production increases during meals and helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and helps rinse away food particles.
4. Avoid beverages with added sugar
When teeth come in frequent contact with beverages that contain sugar, the risk of tooth decay is increased. Drinking water can also help prevent tooth decay and who needs extra calories from sugary sweet drinks?!
5. Chew gum that has the ADA Seal
Instead of candy, consider gum. Studies show that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals helps reduce tooth decay, because increased saliva flow helps wash out food and neutralize the acid produced by dental plaque bacteria.
You Asked: How Does Candy Cause Tooth Decay?
Here’s the short answer: The outer layer of our teeth is called the enamel. It’s a resilient and shiny substance on the surface of your teeth that keeps the inner layer of your teeth, the dentin, safe from damage. But when sugars mix with bacteria in our mouths, an acidic environment leaves enamel vulnerable to harm and decay.
Remember, Not All Candy is Created Equal
What is the best to give Trick-or-Treaters to preserve the health of their teeth?
- Gummies, Taffy, and Caramels: Anything containing chewy or sticky ingredients is harder to remove from teeth and can easily lead to cavities
- Hard Candy: Like chewy candy, they are hard to fully clean off of teeth
- Sour Candy: As it is highly acidic and can erode the enamel of the teeth
- Sugar-Free Candy: While it’s less fun, you can rest assured knowing that damage won’t be done to teeth
- Sugar-Free Gum: A great way for older kids to keep breath fresh and teeth clean
- Chocolate, especially DARK Chocolate: It’s the most easily removable of all sugary candy, but remember that extra =ingredients, like caramel, may cause problems!
Related Article: Your KC Family Dentist Celebrates Children’s Dental Health
Handy Halloween Candy Facts
Halloween is just a few short days away. With it comes a ton of parties, trick or treating, and, of course, sweets. 4% of all candy consumption occurs on this spooktacular holiday. We’ve gathered up some fun facts in our “Halloween Candy Facts” below. Consider our tricky tips below for a safe and healthy Halloween season.
- 76% of households serve Hershey’s Kisses at Halloween
- Many candies have more than 15 ingredients in them, with many of them being different types of sugars
- Almost 3 out of every 4 households will be handing out Halloween treats in the U.S. this year!
- Only 4% of candy consumption occurs on the day of Halloween
- Experts estimate that $2.7 Billion will be spent on Halloween candy this year
- Candy corn is the most popular candy-related search for search engines
- 3 out of 4 households will put the purchased Halloween candy in-sight at home
- From a health standpoint, it’s actually better to eat more candy at once than spread it out during the day; because the added saliva cancels out the acids that can ruin teeth
- 25% of the candy industry’s revenues come from Halloween-related sales
- The average household will spend $44 just to purchase Halloween candy
- Pro Tip: Freeze It!! Chocolate can last up to 6 months in the freezer
- Grateful Giving: Give excess candy away the day after Halloween
- Operation Gratitude: The Halloween Candy Give Back Program has been connecting communities with their Military, Veteran, and First Responder Heroes each fall since 2007. Volunteers from all 50 states and Washington D.C. share a portion of their excess Halloween candy with Operation Gratitude. They then assist in distributing the candy to deployed troops, local military units, veterans, and first responders, providing a sweet opportunity for grateful Americans to thank those who serve our nation.
- Learn More: https://www.operationgratitude.com/halloween-candy-give-back-program/
Sorting after Trick or Treating
Many families return home with their sweet loot and start a sorting ritual. If you don’t typically do this, consider it this year. Throw out any candies or treats that aren’t properly wrapped. Recent articles are pointing more and more toward drugs being presented as candy. Protect your family by making sure anything they consume won’t hurt their mouth. Remember, if your haul is excessive, consider putting some of your chocolate in the freezer. It will keep nicely for up to 6 months.
Related Article: Children’s Dental Health: Tips to Keep Teeth Strong & Healthy
Battling Decay After All the Sweets
If you want to be sure you or your family members’ teeth don’t suffer extreme consequences for all that Halloween candy consumption, then encourage and increase these healthy oral habits even more than you already do:
- Be sure you are brushing your teeth for 2 minutes twice daily. Around Halloween, it might even be worth it to brush after eating the candy, or a third time midday.
- Increase flossing from 1 to 2 times daily for the week following Halloween.
- Even if you don’t normally choose to use mouthwash, doing so around Halloween and throughout the holidays is a great idea. It can keep sugars at bay and strengthen teeth with the fluoride often included in it.
- Drinking lots of water can help keep your mouth flushed out and sugars to a minimum.
- Eating healthy foods to balance out sugar intake is a wonderful way to keep blood sugar from spiking and your teeth free from decay. Munching fresh apples, carrots, celery, and other fibrous produce can actually scrub away plaque buildup and sugars in your mouth, and offer hydration that has been depleted.
- Consider scheduling teeth cleaning after Halloween or in January following all the major Holidays of the year. If any damage is done, we’ll be sure to find it and prevent it from getting any worse.
Wishing You a Happy Halloween!
Of course, these healthy habits are important and can be incorporated year-round, not just during holidays, like Halloween. That’s why scheduling dental appointments twice a year is highly recommended. We love our little patients and want them to have healthy, strong smiles that will last them a lifetime.
With these tips, you’re sure to have a wonderful time this Halloween Weekend without compromising on the health of your mouth. We hope everyone has a safe and wonderful Halloween!
Contact us today to schedule an initial cosmetic consultation and meet with any of our skilled dentists at one of our three conveniently located dental office locations within the Kansas City area, including Lee’s Summit / Independence, the Country Club Plaza and Downtown Kansas City. The gentle dentists and expert team at Thomas L. Anderson and Associates look forward to working with you to treat your dental emergency, achieve proper oral health and a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. If you have any questions about your dental insurance benefits, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to review your policy! Please give us a call today to schedule an appointment and become part of our dental family.