Winston-Salem Dentist: “Halloween Candy Is a Scary Treat for Your Teeth”

October is here, and the candy aisles are filled with those delicious Halloween treats. It’s hard to resist stocking up for the big night without sampling. And then when your kids bring home the big bonanza on October 31 …

OK, we know how hard it is to resist raiding the candy bag. But at least we can offer some words of advice. These are the scariest Halloween candies for your teeth:

  • Taffy. Taffy makes your teeth stick together and can break fillings or crowns. They also stick to the grooves of your teeth, which means bacteria can feed on it and cause cavities.
  • Candies filled with sticky fillings like caramel or nuts. These do the same damage as taffy.
  • Hard candies such as jawbreakers and lollipops. They can be sticky, and they take a long time to dissolve. The longer a food stays in your mouth, the more acidic the mouth becomes, which can break down tooth enamel.
  • Sour candy. It’s acidic and can weaken and wear away tooth enamel
  • Pixie Stix, Fun Dip, etc. These are just pure sugar. They do dissolve quickly and don’t require chewing, but they can change the mouth’s pH and promote bacteria.
If you’re not convinced, consider this.  At Enlighten Dental, we do keep — and have used on a couple of occasions — Bit-o-Honey and  Mary Jane candies for attempts to purposefully loosen restorations in teeth.  One time, while trying to remove two very well done gold inlays that fit so well they could not be removed with any dental instruments or materials, it was necessary to raid a neighboring podiatrist’s candy dish for a Bit-o-Honey. It worked like a charm and pulled the inlays right out.  Another time, a patient was insisting a crown was loose on a back molar. We couldn’t confirm it clinically or make it move, but we could get it to lift off after biting on a semi-frozen Mary Jane candy.So what do we recommend if you absolutely must sneak a treat?

Sugar-free gum, of course! It is sweetened with xylitol, which is a natural sugar the bacteria is unable to form plaque on. Bonus: Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals has been shown to reduce tooth decay, because increased saliva flow helps wash out food and neutralize the acid produced by dental plaque bacteria.

OK, but if you really must have candy, try the plain old chocolate bars, which don’t stick to your teeth. Eat them all on Halloween night and then brush and floss really well.

Here’s some more tips:

  • If you’re going to consume candy and other sugary food, eat it with meals in order to help neutralize acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and rinse away food particles.
  • Drink more fluoridated water, which can help prevent tooth decay.
  • Maintain a healthy diet, which affects the health of your teeth and gums.
  • Avoid sugary beverages, including soda, sports drinks or flavored waters.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and clean between teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner.

And don’t forget to come see us at Enlighten Dental for regular check-ups to keep your teeth and gums healthy!


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