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Children carrying Halloween lamps

If your teeth were the ones chanting “Trick or Treat – Give Me Something Good To Eat,” do you know what candies they would ask for? We enter the Halloween season fully mindful that when the bacteria that resides in the human mouth blends with residual food and the added presence of sugar from candy, a “perfect storm” – one that is highly acidic and conducive to cavities – is raging in your very mouth.

The American Dental Association reminds us that chocolate is probably the least destructive because it most easily can be removed from the surface of your teeth with regular brushing and flossing.

Dark chocolate, formulated with less sugar, touts additional health benefits including its antioxidant qualities as well as the potential lowering of high blood pressure and heart disease conditions, among other benefits.

Sticky and gummy candies sit on the opposite end of the spectrum as they stubbornly resist removal from the tooth’s surface and invite bacteria to work overtime for a better chance at cavity production. Equally as destructive are hard candies that remain in the mouth for longer periods of time, coating the teeth with an elixir of sugar-rich saliva, not to mention the risk of accidentally breaking the tooth if chomped at just the right angle. Sour candies coated in sugar are likewise highly acidic from the start, and of course, this proves destructive to your teeth surface.

If you catch some popcorn balls this Halloween, remember that the kernels that may linger between teeth can be readily removed with dental floss, though they too are coated with sugar and require brushing for removal.

I suggest having on hand a good supply of fluoridated water which can counter the onset of tooth decay. Be especially vigilant of brushing your teeth at least twice for a minimum of two minutes daily with ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste and flossing. Invite a new toothbrush into your bathroom once a quarter (perhaps a whimsical alternative to the candy exchange at school, parents?) and you should be ready for a healthy Halloween.

Dr. T