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Sweet Swaps for a Healthy Smile
Posted on 10/22/2020 by OM
Trick or treat, save your teeth by finding healthier sweets to eat. Yummy treats are just a fact of life this time of year, but you can avoid a toothless grin by making some sweet swaps this Halloween!

Swap Sticky Candy for Chocolate


Candies that are sticky and adhere to the surface of your teeth are the worst! The adherence of the sugary candy keeps the sugar content on the tooth surface for an extended period, which aids in decay formation. Unfortunately, this includes tootsie rolls, sour patch kids, skittles, etc. Even dried fruit can fit in this category.

Did you know chocolate is one of the best candy options that you can have for your smile? Chocolate usually has less artificial flavorings and colorings than other candies and is melt in your mouth good. Why is the melting important? When chocolate melts, it melts right off your teeth, whereas other sticky candies adhere to the tooth’s surface. Dark chocolate is our FAVORITE as it does tend to have lower amounts of sugar and other added health benefits. Research is even showing that dark chocolate is effective at fighting cavities, plaque, tooth decay, and even periodontal disease.
Halloween Candy Held by girl in purple witch costume



Swap Suckers for a Candy Bar with Nuts


Similar to sticky candies, lollipops have a high amount of sugar content and they are usually sucked on for a long period. This keeps the sugar in the saliva and gives a higher rate of decay. Oftentimes kids can be sucking on a lollipop for an hour or more, which means the pH of their saliva will be extremely low from the high sugar content making their smiles more susceptible to decay. We'd rather have kiddos consume their candy in a quick timely manner, versus a long extended period. Unless your suckers are sugar-free and made with xylitol we’d recommend you give them a hard pass!

A Candy Bar with Nuts comes with the added benefits of healthier fats & lower sugar content than other candies. The nuts are usually unsalted and combined with the chocolate, make for a perfect sweet treat. Also, the nuts throughout the bars can help break up the stickiness of the candy and help prevent adhering of the candy to the tooth. We love the small amounts of protein the nuts bring to the table which will help fill you up for longer.


Swap Regular Sour Candies for Sugar-Free Alternatives


Sour candies have a high level of acid, which gives them their sour taste. Acid is known for wreaking scary havoc on a smile as it is notorious for eroding enamel and letting decay thrive. A sticky and sour candy, like sour gummy worms or skittles, combines the acid with the sticky sugary residue and is a quick recipe for tooth decay.

You’ve heard it before, but sugar is indeed the number one contributor to tooth decay. Choosing sugar-free candies means that you can still enjoy something sweet without harmful sugars eating away at your tooth enamel. Sugar-free candies that come with xylitol as the sugar replacement have an added benefit of helping to protect your teeth against decay. Talk about a superhero dressed in disguise!

We do caution you against some of the other "sugar alternatives" like aspartame which may be harmful to your overall health. We always recommend doing your research on these sugar alternatives to make an informed decision on what is best for you.


5 Tips to Keep Your Smile Cavity-Free from Sugary Attacks


•  Hydrate - If you can’
•  t avoid the sweets, always be sure to drink water after you consume the candy. Water can help wash away the sugary residue and can often help dissolve candy that has adhered to the teeth.
•  Brush Your Teeth - If you know you’
•  re going to a Halloween party throw a few mini pre-pasted toothbrushes in your wallet or purse. A quick brush 30 minutes after some sweets can make a big difference in whether you end up with decay after indulging.
•  Brush your Tongue - Sugars like to linger on your tongue and can keep the acid/pH in your mouth low for a longer amount of time. Brushing your tongue helps remove oral bacteria & provides a better environment for your teeth.
•  Fluoride - Fluoride is a proven enamel strengthener and will help protect your tooth’
•  s enamel from breakdown. Be sure to keep up on your fluoride treatments and use toothpaste with fluoride to help protect yourself in advance of any unforeseen candy attacks.
•  Floss Daily - Flossing is HUGE when it comes to candy and sugar. Those sneaky sugars can get stuck in between your teeth and the only way to effectively remove that residue is with floss.

Bryan Hill, DDS
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