Trick or treat, who can resist? There's the candy you're handing out, the candy kids bring in, not to mention the snacks in the break room. Go ahead and indulge, but wisely.
You knew that. We've been told since childhood that sugar equals cavities. But did you know sugar also causes periodontal (gum) disease? The problem begins with plaque, the sticky film that develops on teeth when bacteria in our mouths mixes with sugary or starchy food particles. We form plaque every day, but if it's not cleaned away it hardens into damaging calculus while the bacteria multiplies and infects the gums. That infection is the start of periodontal disease. The first stage, gingivitis, can be reversed. If not treated, it progresses to gum loss, bone loss, and tooth lose. The stuff of nightmares.
But didn't we promise you could have candy? Yes. Here's the best way:
1. ENJOY in moderation. Don't have more than a piece or two or you may overwhelm the balance of bacteria in your mouth and push the plaque factory into high gear.
2. SKIP the sticky. Gummies and other clingy candies are ones to avoid because they stay on the teeth, between the teeth and below the teeth longer and are difficult to remove.
3. EAT chocolate! The opposite of sticky sweets, chocolate is one of your better choices because it melts and doesn't stay in the mouth for long.
4. DRINK water. A dry mouth can't clean away sugar. Water helps rinse away residue before it gets a foothold.
5. INCLUDE apples, carrots or celery as an "after" snack. They naturally help remove plaque.
6. Finally, CLEAN. When it comes to your "brush, floss, rinse" routine, dedicate extra time because there's extra work, particularly before bed. If you'll be munching during the day, bring a toothbrush or rinse, or at least get in a swish at the sink.
At Halloween, the only missing teeth we want to see are on your pumpkins. It only takes a few precautions to keep a healthy, beautiful smile.