Brush Up for Halloween: How Sugar Effects Your Teeth

Halloween is almost here. You’ve got your kids’ costumes ready, you’ve decked the front porch in cobwebs (or let existing ones grow), and your getting ready for the onslaught of kids ringing your door and yelling “Trick-Or-Treat!” At our McMinnville, OR dental practice we believe in approaching these holidays with both excitement, education and planning.

If you’ve read our post about The Best Halloween Candy For Your Teeth, you know that you can help kids (and adults!) keep their teeth healthy by focusing on giving out and ingesting non-sticky candy, or candy that isn’t in contact with your teeth for long periods of time. But why is this? What exactly does sugar do to your teeth and why is candy notoriously bad for your oral health?

How Sugar Effects Your Teeth
When you eat sugar, the bacteria in your mouth convert it to acid. This acid will erode your tooth’s enamel, leaving to a cavity, or hole, that may need to be treated by Dr. Diesburg. If left long enough, holes in the teeth can reach the tender pulp and nerve of the tooth, leading to root canal therapy or removal of the tooth. Your mouth will hurt and you may feel pain while eating. Sugar is not something to take lightly. To keep your teeth healthy, it is important to practice good oral hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing. To combat the effects of sugar specifically, it is vitally crucial to reduce the amount of contact your teeth have with sugar. Holidays like Halloween, when people are more likely to be ingesting sugar, are great times of the year to brush your teeth more and clear it of dangerous sugar.

What to Tell Your Kids about Sugar and Your Teeth at Halloween
Kids don’t take well to being told they can’t eat their Halloween candy. Beyond full out policing what is in their sack, which parents should do anyway for safety reason, teach them that hard candy can hurt their teeth and gums because the sugar bugs in their mouth really, really like that kind of candy.

With our son, Dashiell, 3, we actively talk about the sugar bugs when we are brushing his teeth. We let him know that we are brushing away the sugar bugs when we brush in the morning and evening. We even do voices for the sugar bugs. Kids learn from you that candy is a “sometimes food”; and they will learn from you that brushing keeps their teeth healthy. This holiday season, make it a family activity to talk about what foods are good for your teeth and to instill more frequent brushing if anyone in the household is eating candy.

Best wishes for a safe and Happy Halloween!

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