Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dental Hygeine Tips for Candy Season

With the passing of summer, the fall season brings cooler weather, shorter days and an abundance of CANDY! You might have noticed the stores are already pushing their supplies of Halloween treats to the forefront of the aisles and people are sharing their fall-inspired dessert recipes left and right. From caramel apples to pumpkin spice lattes, to chocolate candy and all the other sugar-laden goodies we're bombarded with this season, it's important to remember a few simple but critical things about taking care of our dental health.

In this post, we'll go over a few tips for everyone with a sweet tooth. Whether you're concerned about your child's teeth or your own, these reminders should help you maintain your healthy and beautiful smile!

1. Avoid certain candies

Living with limits isn't always fun, but in order to protect your dental health it pays to avoid certain types of candy. Mainly, steer clear of candies that are acidic (as the acids can be damaging to tooth enamel) or sticky (as they can get stuck behind molars and in between teeth and may eventually lead to cavities due to leaving sugar directly on the teeth for a prolonged period of time), or very hard (as biting or chewing them could potentially damage teeth and/or dental work).

A few examples include...

  • Jawbreakers
  • Taffy
  • WarHeads Sour Spray
  • Altoids Mango Sours
  • Wonka Fun Dip Powder
  • Wonka Pixy Stix Powder
  • Spree
  • Sweetarts
  • Sour Gummi Bears
According to a study conducted by the Minnesota Dental Association, some of the above-mentioned candies are almost as acidic as battery acid! 

2. Brush & floss after eating 

While this is a good rule of thumb to follow year-round, it becomes especially important around the holidays. As we've already mentioned, a lot of the treats we indulge in this season are acidic or chewy, which can be damaging if they are left in contact with our teeth or gums for an extended period of time.

3. Limit intake

If you're a parent or guardian to a young child, consider placing a limit on the amount of candy/treats your child may consume. For instance, on Halloween night, your child will probably wind up with a whole bag full of candy after trick-or-treating - but have a talk with your child beforehand and let them know that they will only be allowed to eat a certain number of items that evening. Be specific with real numbers (1, 2, 4, etc.) - what your young one considers "a few pieces" may be well above what you had in mind.

If you're not a parent, but you want to protect your dental health, place limits on yourself in the same manner. Decide ahead of time how many treats you'll allow yourself to consume and stick to the plan. It will take self control and discipline, but you can do it!

Even if you don't indulge in candy, keep in mind that there are lots of other tempting treats you'll come across in the fall that aren't exactly great for your teeth. Coffees and sugary cakes can be bad for your teeth as well, so when the coffee houses start pushing their pumpkin spice blends and caramel apple danishes, be prepared!

4. Talk to your dentist/orthodontist if you have recently had dental work done

Your dental professional will likely go over any foods/beverages you should avoid after having dental/orthodontic treatment. However, if you're not sure about a certain item, don't hesitate to call your dentist/orthodontist and ask. Better safe than sorry!

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