So, to maximize your enjoyment of the season’s sugary sweets, try and follow a few simple steps:
1) Eat sugary foods once a day at the end of a meal: The frequency of eating candy, and other refined carbohydrates, and their stickiness are factors contributing to the risk of cavities. By feeding on the sugar in your mouth, acid-producing bacteria can cause a change in pH balance of your mouth, which increases the risk for cavities. In fact, each time you eat any sugary snack or drink, it can take up to an hour for the acid to dissipate. Instead, if you eat your sugary snack or drink immediately following a meal (when your production of saliva increases), the acidity is neutralized more quickly; thus reducing the risk of cavities forming.
2) Avoid or Limit Sticky Candies: Caramels, candy corn, jelly beans, taffy’s and even raisins are particularly sticky, making it harder for saliva to wash away the sugar.
3) Brush your teeth shortly after eating your sugary snacks: The longer the sugar stays on your teeth (thus keeping the acidity high), the more cavity prone your teeth will be. So, adults and children alike, should brush their teeth after eating candy, or if that’s not possible, rinse your mouth with water three or four times after eating, which will help reduce acidity in the mouth.
4) Chew sugar-free gum: Chewing sugar-free gum can help increase salivary flow in the mouth, which helps to reduce the acidity and thus wash away the effects of sugar from candy.
5.) See Your Dentist (Me:)): Don’t forget your routine cleanings! No matter how great your oral hygiene routine, plaque and tarter will still inevitably build up, making it harder to brush away sticky cavity-producing sugars, stains and bacteria!
— Halloween is a fun holiday so enjoy it, and don’t let cavities get in the way! And remember to sell us your leftover candy by participating in Operation Candy for Gratitude.
Happy Halloween from all your friends at Irena Vaksman, DDS!