Halloween is right around the corner and, for many of us, anticipating the tempting sweets and treats is just as much fun as selecting the perfect costume. Halloween can also be an ideal time to teach kids (and remind adults) about healthy dental habits. While the easy access to sweet treats can be irresistible, there are ways to keep our teeth and gums healthy — and still celebrate.
Some treats are better than others
Sweet treats that are loaded with sugar can create plaque and wear down the protective enamel on your teeth. When it comes to the health of your teeth and gums, learn which treats can be enjoyed in moderation and which treats should be avoided.
These treats satisfy your sweet tooth while reducing excess sugar and damage to your teeth’s enamel:
- Salty treats like pretzels and popcorn that don’t leave sugar behind
- Sugar-free gum and lollipops
- Dark chocolate, which contains less sugar than milk chocolate
- Candy bars containing nuts; the nuts help scrape the sugar off of your teeth
- Chocolate-covered fruit
Try to avoid these treats that can play unwelcome tricks on your teeth:
- Sticky candies: the stickier the treat (think taffy, caramels, gummies) the longer it sticks around in your teeth, increasing the risk of tooth decay
- Hard candy like jawbreakers, which can chip or break your teeth
- Sour candies, which contain a high amount of acid that can harm tooth enamel and increase the risk of cavities
Tricks for keeping teeth and gums healthy
These tricks can help you enjoy Halloween treats — and keep your teeth and gums healthy all season long:
- Eat candy with meals, since saliva production increases when eating meals, helping to rinse away sticky food particles
- Focus on moderation versus deprivation
- Schedule a time to indulge in Halloween treats
- Donate or freeze extra candy
- Brush and floss soon after eating treats
Don’t let sticky, sugary treats play tricks on your teeth. And be sure to visit the dentist twice a year for a routine check-up and cleaning to help keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape. Remember that your CareCredit credit card provides a convenient way to pay for care not covered by insurance. Use the Provider Locator to find a nearby dentist who accepts your CareCredit card.*
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"Oral Health Challenge: 5 Tricks for Dealing with Halloween Treats," by Kathleen Doheny, WebMD,
http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/5-tricks-for-dealing-with-halloween-treats#2, accessed June 23, 2017
"How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy During Halloween," MouthHealthy.org
http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/halloween-slideshow, accessed June 23, 2017
"Halloween Candy: Your Dental Health Survival Guide," MouthHealthy.org, http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/h/halloween-candy-survival-guide, accessed July 17, 2017
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