It’s almost that time of year again, with fun costumes and free-flowing candy. Halloween candy — all that sugar — so yummy and delightful in its various, scrumptious varieties. We know, of course, the horror stories of sugar over-consumption — namely cavities and periodontal disease but also other issues like weight gain, diabetes, higher blood pressure and inflammation. So how bad is it really? Is it ok in moderation? If one just happens to overindulge, intentionally or otherwise, are there ways to mitigate the possible damage?
Let’s start with the good news
It takes time for a cavity to form so an occasional indulgence (say Halloween candy feasting for instance) isn’t going to cause a mouthful of cavities, IF we take care of our oral microbiome.
Here’s how it works
Sugar itself doesn’t cause cavities, but it is a very attractive food source for bacteria. The billions (yes, billions with a B) of bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar. It would not be surprising to think that bacteria are probably even more excited to eat Halloween candy than we are.
After a person eats food with sugars, the hungry bacteria in your mouth mix with the sugary or starchy foods to form plaque — the sticky film that constantly forms on teeth, resulting in a sort of ‘furry’ feeling. Bacteria in plaque produce acids and, if left unchecked, over time these acids can destroy tooth enamel and cause cavities and gingivitis (gum disease).
What can you do?
Your mouth is a hot bed of bacteria which we clearly don’t want to leave “unchecked” — particularly if you’ve been indulging in candy. By establishing an essential daily routine, using the best tools and practices, you can remove bacteria and plaque before it builds up and causes damage.
5 tips for disrupting plaque and keeping the decay at bay:
- Clean your tongue. Not only are the bacteria hiding between the teeth, they are coating your tongue. Use a high quality metal tongue scraper (Copper or Stainless Steel) to remove that film. Bonus: A clean tongue helps your food taste better…the candy will be even more delicious!!
- Floss daily with an effective floss like DrTung’s Smart Floss. The expanding floss grabs the little bacteria critters hiding (and sugar bingeing) in the crevices between your teeth and under the gum line.
- Brush twice a day and right after an indulgence of extra sticky goodness…the sooner the better. DrTung’s Ionic Toothbrush removes up to 48% more plaque.
- If you can’t brush right away, rinse your mouth well with water so the sticky substances aren’t sitting on your teeth for long periods of time.
- Try to limit your sugary snacks to a certain time rather than snacking throughout the day to reduce prolonged exposure.
Halloween is fun and brings out the inner kid in all of us. It’s the time of year when it’s difficult for most of us to stay away from the treats. Continuing a complete daily oral care routine and incorporating these tips will help to protect your teeth and gums. So go ahead...enjoy the occasional splurge!