Halloween Treats Can Be Frightening for Your Teeth
The witching hour is upon us. With the likes of creepy clowns, the walking undead and deranged killers lurking in the shadows, Halloween is the most delightfully scary day of the year. But, Michael Myers isn’t the only scary thing on Halloween, some of those sugary treats can be pretty terrifying for your teeth.
Here are a few scary and not-so-scary candy for your fangs.
Hard candy – Hard candy is tough on teeth because it stays in your mouth for an extended period of time. This ultimately coats teeth with sugar. Additionally, biting down on hard candy can chip or break teeth.
Chewy candy – Chewy, sticky treats are particularly damaging because they are high in sugar. Because they spend a prolonged amount of time stuck to teeth, they are more difficult for saliva to break down.
Not so scary:
Sugar-free candy and gum with xylitol – Sugar-free foods don’t contain sugar, which feeds on bacteria in the mouth and produce decay-causing acids. Gum and candy with xylitol may actually protect teeth by reducing the acids produced by bacteria and increasing saliva to rinse away excess sugars and acids.
Powdery candy – Sure, powdery candy is packed with pure sugar, but the texture allows it to dissolve quickly which prevents sugar from sticking to teeth and producing acids and bacteria.
Chocolate – Chocolate dissolves quickly in the mouth, which decreases the amount of time sugar stays in contact with teeth. Also, the calcium in chocolate can potentially help protect tooth enamel.
So, you can have your candy and eat it too! You just have to make the right choices. Scary things happen to those that don’t brush. Be sure to brush and floss, so those Halloween treats won’t haunt your mouth later on.
If you find all that Halloween candy has left your teeth a bit scary, or you need a good post-Halloween cleaning, feel free to give please call us, at 972-242-2155, for an appointment. Or, you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page.
ADA Spokesperson Discusses the Biggest Myth about Cavities
American Dental Association spokesperson Dr. Ada Cooper discusses dental carries. “The biggest myth about cavities is that if it doesn’t hurt you don’t need to fix it,” Dr. Cooper said. “That is completely wrong.” She states that when a cavity has begun to cause pain, it usually requires “more extensive treatment” at that point. Explaining what causes dental decay and why some people may have more cavities than others, Dr. Cooper says “brushing and flossing, of course, are the best way to minimize the number of cavities that you get.” In addition, dentists have many tools available, such as fluoride rinses and treatments, to make teeth more resistant to dental decay. “The best thing to do,” Dr. Cooper says, is to have regular dental visits to ensure detection and treatment of cavities while they’re still small.
Tips to help prevent cavities:
Brush at least twice a day with a toothpaste that contains fluoride
Floss or use an interdental cleaner, such as a Waterpik or proxy brush, daily to remove food and bacteria from in between teeth
Limit sugary drinks and snacks
Prescription strength fluoride pastes and rinses are also recommended if you are at a high risk of developing decay. We offer prescription strength fluoride paste for purchase in office
Visit Dr. Griffin at least twice yearly for your professional cleaning and exam
If you think you may have a cavity and would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Griffin, please call us, at 972-242-2155. Or, you can use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page.
The American Dental Association provides additional information on cavities and other oral health topics at Mouthhealthy.org
Many people have the common misconception that due to lower or no sugar content in diet sodas that they are not bad for your teeth. Consuming sugary sodas bombards your teeth with high contents of sugar every time you sip, which is not good for enamel, but it is the acids in both diet and regular sodas that attacks tooth enamel and wears it down. Both diet sodas and regular sodas contain high amounts of acid, with pH levels from anywhere around 2.49-3.42. Those high levels of acid cause erosion of enamel over time, which can in turn lead to tooth decay that may require fillings, crowns, root canals or other restorative dental procedures to correct.
There are two types of acids in soft drinks carbonic acid and phosphoric acid. Carbonic acid gives soda its fizz. Carbonic acid is a relatively weak acid, which decomposes quickly so the effects of carbonic acid on enamel are minimal. Most of the acidity in soft drink comes from phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acid is corrosive and over time can break down tooth enamel. For those who have not seen a pH scale in sometime (or ever), pH of a liquid is measured using water as the neutral pH, at 7.00. From there, the lower pH numbers are more acidic and the higher pH numbers are basic, or bases. Tooth enamel is relatively safe while we eat and drink until the acidity in the drink, or even some foods, falls lower than a pH of 5.2, when it begins to dissolve. So drinking an entire two-liter of diet soda to save your teeth from the horrors of regular, sugar-filled sodas isn’t really making a huge difference on your teeth at all.
It’s really best to not drink sodas at all but just like everything else moderation is key. Drinking soft drinks in moderation won’t dissolve your teeth away as long as take care of your teeth in the process. Here are a few tips if you enjoy cold soft drink from time to time:
Limit consumption of soda to meal time.
Do not sip on soda throughout the day.
Rinse your mouth with water or drink milk to neutralize acids.
Chew sugar-free gum or, better yet, gum containing Xylitol. Xylitol has been proven to help prevent tooth decay.
Brush at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste – fluoride re-mineralizes and strengthens areas where acid has weakened the enamel.
If you have any questions about the effects of sodas on your teeth or any other dental issues please feel to give us a call here in Carrollton, TX at 972-242-2155. Or, simply use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form on this page.