Halloween is a fun time of the year but often raises concerns for parents because all of the candy collected can have adverse effects on healthy teeth. Sugar eats away at tooth enamel and can often lead to cavities. Rather than eliminating Halloween candy altogether, parents can take appropriate steps to balance it while keeping their children’s teeth healthy.
How Sugar Affects Healthy Teeth
Sugar and other foods mix with bacteria inside the mouth and produce an acid. Saliva and acid result in plaque. As plaque builds up on the teeth, cavities can form.
How Plaque Causes Cavities
Plaque collects on teeth, forming a sticky layer on them. As plaque continues to build, more bacteria forms in the mouth. Over time the acids that the bacteria produce wear down enamel and create favorable conditions for tooth decay.
Can Plaque be Prevented?
There is no way to eliminate plaque, but regular brushing and flossing after meals help to keep it under control.
What Happens if Plaque Isn’t Removed?
If plaque continues to accumulate on and around teeth, it can lead to problems beyond just cavities. Gum disease is another consequence of plaque buildup. Gum disease can cause bad breath and loose teeth. It can eventually result in tooth extractions. If left untreated, plaque can cause tartar. Tarter is a hard substance that forms between the tooth and gums. Tarter must be treated by a dental professional.
How Can I Keep My Teeth Healthy?
While sugary foods can negatively impact teeth, it is not necessary to avoid them completely. Balancing sweets such as Halloween candy and oral hygiene can be accomplished by following these steps:
Not All Sweets are Created Equal
Some candies wreak more havoc on teeth than others. Sticky candies, such as taffies, cling to teeth and are more difficult to remove with brushing. Limiting these types of foods improves overall oral hygiene.
The Sooner You Brush, the Better
Plaque begins to form soon after eating, and tartar forms within one to two days. Removing plaque before it grows is vital to maintaining a healthy smile. Brushing your teeth as soon after eating as possible will help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
Flossing is Essential for Healthy Teeth
Regular brushing is not enough to prevent plaque and cavities. Food particles can become trapped between teeth. Regular flossing will help remove these trapped particles and help keep plaque from forming in hard-to-reach areas.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly to Maintain Healthy Teeth
Seeing your dentist twice every year is essential for maintaining good oral hygiene, however your dentist might recommend more frequent visits. The American Dental Association recommends that dental professionals determine the frequency of routine and preventative visits for certain individuals.
How Can My Dentist Help Keep My Teeth Healthy?
Dentists play an integral role in preventing tooth decay. Receiving regular preventative care will help prevent costly and painful treatments in the future.
Receive Regular Cleanings
Professional dental cleanings provide a deeper clean that brushing and flossing alone cannot accomplish. During your cleaning, your dentist will also likely check for cavities and treat them before they cause more significant problems.
Remove Plaque and Tartar
Only dental professionals can remove tartar. If tartar has formed around your teeth, your dentist can remove it, helping to prevent gum disease.
Repairing or Removing Unhealthy Teeth
Cavities sometimes form if you have missed dental appointments or have not kept up on regular oral hygiene at home. If this happens, your dentist might suggest performing fillings or root canal treatments. These treatments can often save the tooth from extraction.
Schedule an Appointment with Eriks Dental Group
Eriks Dental Group can help you maintain healthy teeth this Halloween and year-round. Dr. Ty Eriks and his staff are top-performing dental professionals in the Boynton Beach area. To schedule an appointment today, call (561) 733-4004.