Halloween is one of the most anticipated days of the year — and what would Halloween be without candy? The tradition of getting candy didn’t appear in Halloween festivities until the 1950s.¹ Where before, children got apples, coins, nuts, and even small toys, now they walk home with bags full of sugary treats. Candy is tasty but can cause cavities and gum disease. Enjoying Halloween does not have to mean putting your oral health at risk — not when there are tooth-friendly Halloween treats to consider.
Sugary Treats: Playing Harmful Tricks on Your Teeth
You have countless types of bacteria in your mouth. Some of the bacteria are beneficial for your body, but others, if left behind when brushing your teeth, can lead to oral health issues. For those harmful bacteria living in your mouth, sugar is excellent food and helps that harmful bacteria to thrive.
When they come into contact with sugar, these harmful bacteria produce acids that wear away at your tooth enamel by destroying essential minerals. Your saliva can combat this demineralization, helping the enamel repair itself.
Eating sugar helps the harmful bacteria create more acid and cause more damage while altering your mouth’s pH level.² All of this leads to the development of cavities, which require treatment to avoid infections and prevent tooth loss.
Tooth-Friendly Halloween Treats
You don’t have to choose between having fun and maintaining oral health as you approach Halloween with these tooth-friendly Halloween treats.
Dark chocolate has a lower fat and sugar content than milk chocolate, helping prevent a huge surge of acids in your mouth. It also doesn’t contain milk. The lactose in milk is a form of sugar that can also lead to cavities. Dark chocolate still has some sugar, so it’s still important to brush and floss your teeth after eating.
Fruit and Dried Fruit
Although fruits still have some sugars, they are not as plentiful as what you would find in candy. This means bacteria can create less acid. Fruits and dried fruits offer a burst of sweetness and important vitamins without the added sugars. Some dried fruits contain added sugars, so check the ingredients before you deem dried fruit to be free of added sugars.
DIY Snack Packs
Who says you have to buy prepackaged treats? You can make your own by combining the following:
- Dried fruits
Just make sure the sugar content is as low as possible. Don’t, for example, add candied nuts to the mix.
Sugar-free gum can give you a clean feel while also encouraging saliva production. Your mouth’s natural saliva can wash away acids and protect your enamel.
Fun and Healthy Halloween Activities
Instead of making Halloween all about candy, choose to incorporate fun activities that celebrate this spooky day.
Pull the focus away from eating candy by hosting a pumpkin-decorating contest. Not only can this keep you and your loved ones entertained, but it can also keep you from reaching for that pile of tempting snacks.
Costume Parties and Games
Costume parties and games can encourage your loved ones to learn more about Halloween and its traditions. Why not have a costume party that requires only homemade costumes or activities like making Halloween wreaths? You can also go for traditional games like pin the tail on the donkey.
Non-Food Treat Options
You can also choose to give out non-food treat options, like stickers, glow sticks, and small toys. This allows you to maintain the trick-or-treat tradition without risking oral health.
Oral Hygiene Tips for Halloween
To keep your teeth safe during Halloween, remember some crucial oral hygiene tips.
Brushing and Flossing Routine
Just because you’re out having fun doesn’t mean you should forget all about brushing and flossing your teeth. Whether you have candy or not, make sure to follow your normal routine.
Timing Is Key
If you have candy during Halloween, brush your teeth as soon as possible. It can also help to have a few pieces of candy all in one sitting and then brush your teeth rather than spreading out your candy consumption over many hours.
Hydration and Water Intake
Drinking water helps cleanse bacteria away while also increasing saliva. If you have a piece of candy or even if you eat a piece of fruit, drink some water afterward.
Enjoying Halloween Without Harming Your Teeth
You don’t have to give up on having fun during Halloween to spare your oral health. Refocus on what the celebration means to you and your loved ones, and stick to activities and snacks that keep you from reaching for those sugar-loaded candies.
Learn more about maintaining your oral health by contacting Albion Family Dental today. 585-589-9044