It's no secret that sweets give you cavities but let's dive into why then how you can prevent running to the dentist in fear after over indulging during this spooky season. Once you follow these easy steps your teeth will thank you this Halloween.
How do we get cavities?
Cavities are caused by frequent snacking, bacteria in the mouth and poor oral health. When the bacteria in your mouth starts snacking on the sugary sweets just like you are, it can permanently weaken the surface with weak acids which creates the tiny holes that we know as cavities. Spooky isn’t it?
Why is this important?
When cavities are left untreated this then can lead to severe infection and tooth decay. If cavities are treated in early stages, it might just need a small filling. However, when the cavities are untreated for a long time, it might require a root canal treatment and a crown in order to save the tooth or it might even have the chance of losing the tooth. Since we all enjoy eating sweets (sometimes more than the children) it's important to make more intentional decisions for your overall health and teeth.
According to the American Heart Association we should not be consuming “no more than 100 calories per day (about 6 teaspoons or 24 grams) of sugar for most adult women and no more than 150 calories per day (about 9 teaspoons or 36 grams of sugar) for most men.”
Be sure you read the nutrition labels on the back of your sweets so you don’t exceed the recommended sugar intake. Be sure to continue reading the nutrition labels even after Halloween as over consumption of sugar can cause obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), cognitive decline and even some cancers.
How to avoid this?
Dr. Yohan Kim, a dentist of Madison Dental Loft knows of this all too well saying “the halloween festivities are unavoidable but it's important we consider overall health and selecting the right candies”. He recommends we don't consume above the AHA sugar consumption limit and asks that we only have candies containing the magical ingredient Xylitol.
Xylitol is a natural sugar found in many vegetables and fruits and is used as a sugar substitute. So, sweets with Xylitol cannot cause cavities. Sweet, isn’t it?
Here are some options containing Xylitol:
After the sugar rush:
Dr. Yohan Kim recommends rinsing with water immediately after consumption of sweets to neutralize the pH in the mouth. Be sure to floss to remove the debris between and around the teeth then follow up with brushing for 2 minutes. Be sure to get all sides of each tooth when brushing and brush in small circular motions on the surface and along the gum line. Keeping this routine twice a day in the morning and evening before bed will keep your teeth healthy. Also, do not forget to visit the dentist at least twice a year for a cleaning and a check-up. It will save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Like Freddy Kruger, the germs in your mouth will come after you at night!
We all wish you and your family Happy Halloween!
Dr. Yohan Kim and Madison Dental Loft Team