With Halloween fast approaching, cosmetic dentist Dr. Rhonda Kalasho of GLO Modern Dentistry in Los Angeles shares five ways to protect your teeth and prevent sabotaging your smile.
Halloween is just around the corner, and as many of us are picking festive outfits to wear, we also are secretly looking forward to sneaking in some delicious candy. From bite-sized to deluxe options, candy is hard to avoid this month. However, you will want to choose your candy carefully, as Old Hallows Eve is not so great for your teeth.
Avoid sticky, chewy candies
It’s important to steer clear of any candies that stick to the teeth. The sugars found in candy are easily digested by cavity-causing bacteria, which create an acid that breaks down tooth enamel. Remember, cavities can also happen below and through existing fillings. So just because you got your teeth filled, doesn’t mean you are in the clear, you can still develop recurrent caries (cavities). Hard candies that stay in the mouth expose your teeth to a prolonged “sugar bath,” which is the most detrimental to your teeth. Try to choose sugarless options, but if you do reach for that candy, don’t snack on it throughout the day. It’s better to eat one, then brush and floss at least 20 minutes after consumption.
Protect your veneers and major restorations.
Veneers, crowns and bridges are easily damaged, especially when eating candies and foods that are hard to bite. Caramels, candy apples, and even hard seeds like popcorn kernels are major causes of damage to dental work. This is cannot only be painful, but costly as well, so be incredibly careful with your dental investment when reaching into that bucket of candy.
Keep an eye on color
Food coloring can stain natural teeth and veneers. If you recently underwent in-office teeth whitening, the procedure makes the teeth incredibly porous and more susceptible to stains, so stay away from those pumpkin spice lattes, wine and other intensely colored foods. All year round, if you are a coffee lover like I am, try drinking with a straw and drinking plenty of water after you’ve finished your cup to limit the chances of staining.
Be extra diligent about oral care
It’s essential to brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day, especially when you’re snacking on candy more often than usual. You may also want to use a fluoride mouthwash to help neutralize the mouth and protect the teeth from cavities. Remember, it only takes 20 minutes for cavity causing bacteria to begin breaking down enamel.
Set an end date
Talented trick-or-treaters often get enough candy to last all winter, but instead of hoarding it, make a plan to donate unopened extra candy after a few days to your neighbors and friends—and give them a toothbrush and floss to go along with it.
Happy Halloween, everyone!