Trick-or-Teeth: How to Safeguard Your Smile during Halloween

Halloween is certainly something to look forward to! Crafting an amazing costume, attending parties, maybe even braving a haunted house. But, with all the sugary treats making their way into your life, we’d be remiss if we didn’t warn you about the true Halloween horror – tooth decay. 

If you have braces, an appliance, or Invisalign aligners, pay special attention during the Halloween season. The effects of poor oral health combined with lots of candy are even spookier. But never fear! Here are some things to keep in mind to ensure you don’t have to deal with decay this fall from Dr. Laurie McNamara McClatchey and Dr. James A. McNamara at McNamara Orthodontics.

 

Does Candy Rot Your Teeth?

Yes and no. Any sugary treat isn’t exactly the best for your teeth, but in moderation and with good oral health, it’s not an issue. During the Halloween season, we see patients eating a lot more candy than any other time of year, and this excess can sometimes present issues with tooth health. 

The most important thing is to have a bit of understanding about what small changes to make that help to lessen the risk of Halloween-related decay. First, it’s important to try to regulate the amount of candy you have daily. Not just for your tooth health, but it’ll also save you a stomachache! Keeping to two or three pieces of candy as much as possible is best during the season. The two concerning things about most candies are the sugar content and the acid content. Sugar and acid are bad for enamel health, and hard for the bacteria in your mouth to effectively break down. 

The length of time a piece of candy is in your mouth is directly correlated to the amount of damage it is doing to your teeth. So, candies that are sticky or hard aren’t the best choice. It’s also best to up the brushing routine when you increase the amount of sugar hitting your teeth. Brushing after desserts or meals can save you a cavity visit in the future. 

 

What Candies Should You Avoid?

As we discussed above, hard candy that stays in your mouth for a while isn’t good for enamel health and can lead to expedited decay. But, if you have braces, an expander, or aligners it’s even more important to avoid anything sticky or hard. 

Candies with taffy, caramel, or nougat can break a bracket just as quickly as hard candy or get stuck in a crevice created by an appliance and cause decay. With braces or any other form of orthodontic treatment, it’s doubly important to increase brushing after meals and candy. 

 

How to Give Back Around Halloween

If the huge bag of candy is a big temptation, or you just want to brighten someone else’s day, some cool organizations specialize in donating Halloween candy. Most orthodontists and dentists can recommend a charity to you if you give them a call, or even facilitate the donations themselves. We recommend checking out Operation Gratitude or Treats for Troops to donate your Halloween haul to soldiers overseas, or calling your local Ronald McDonald House, homeless shelter, or soup kitchen to check their policies about unopened candy donations. 

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