We hope all the patients at Dr. Steinfeld’s Lake Worth dental office have a safe and happy Halloween! The holiday season is filled with sugary snacks and drinks which obviously make tooth decay a concern. To reduce their chances of having their festivities ruined by a toothache, we thought our patients would appreciate some advice on healthier choices.
Besides candy, sugary treats such as apple cider, cream and chocolate-filled coffees, popcorn, and pumpkins and winter squash abound at this time of year. But the amount of sugar in any particular food isn’t the main problem. The issue comes from how long teeth are exposed to sugar. A hard candy that has to be sucked on will leave a lot of sugar on the teeth, as will a sugary drink that is consumed slowly without sips of water in between. Of course, sticky candy is likelier to get lodged in between teeth or in crevices (and could also dislodge fillings or orthodontic brackets).
We advise people to limit consumption of candy to regular mealtimes. The mouth is producing more saliva then, which will help wash sugary residue off teeth. People should also try having fluoridated bottled water on hand for the same reason. Chewing sugar-free gum will dislodge some food debris if the patient won’t have an opportunity to do a proper brushing until several hours later. Hard candies flavored with xylitol are a tooth-friendlier option than those flavored with sugar.