In this era of mass consumerism, holidays have become little more than a reason to spend money and overindulge, and this is particularly true of end-of-year holidays, starting with Halloween. While this horror-filled holiday brings out the kid in all of us by making a day of dressing in costumes not only acceptable, but expected, we also have to deal with the temptation of candy, which is everywhere at this time of year.
Your kids may be the ones out ringing doorbells and collecting candy, but adults still have to check treat bags and hand out candy at the door, making it easy to grab a piece here and a piece there. Before you know it, you’ve doubled your daily caloric intake with mass quantities of sugar. This is not only bad for your diet and your overall health, but it can do a number on your teeth. Is Halloween candy connected to tooth decay? Here’s what you need to know.
What’s in a Sweet?
It’s true that all forms of sugar can be harmful to your oral health, but you might be surprised to learn that some types of candy are far worse than others. The real harm occurs when sugar clings to teeth, and the stickier the candy, the longer it will linger in your mouth.
For this reason, candy that has caramel or nougat is the worst for your teeth. However, hard candies can also be pretty bad. If you suck on them, you’re keeping sugar in your mouth and in contact with your teeth much longer than eating a chocolate. Plus, if you bite them, you risk chipping or even cracking teeth. All of this can increase the risk of tooth decay.
The Consequences of Overindulgence
Significantly increasing sugar intake, as people tend to do with Halloween candy, Thanksgiving pies, Christmas cookies, and more can definitely be harmful to your teeth. This is because sugar feeds bacteria in your mouth, which thrive and create a harmful film on your teeth. This, in turn, can increase tartar and plaque buildup on teeth, as well as erode enamel. Over time, you increase your odds of developing serious issues like gum disease and tooth decay.
Combatting Tooth Decay
The best thing you can do is try to avoid all the sweet treats of the holidays, or at least limit your intake. If you simply can’t resist popping a few candy corns or Snickers in your mouth, at least make sure to drink extra water and brush, floss, and rinse with mouthwash after eating candy.