In this guide from Rentschler and Rhee, we go over ways to enjoy your Halloween and stay cavity-free.
What Is The Relationship Between Cavities And Sugar?
As Halloween approaches, we might be looking forward to our favorite brands of candy and chocolate. If you understand the relationship between sugar and how it can potentially encourage tooth decay, you might see why your dentist would want you to take certain precautions.
In the human mouth, there are helpful bacteria and harmful bacteria. When sugar remains on the surface of teeth, it attracts harmful bacteria. The bad bacteria enjoy eating leftover sugar. As the bad bacteria digest leftover sugar, these bacteria produce acid. This acid can erode your tooth’s natural protective layer of enamel. The more sugar is left over on your teeth, the more opportunities are created for the harmful bacteria to produce more enamel-eroding acid. Over time, the acid can create a permanent hole in the tooth, called a cavity.
Symptoms of a cavity can include a toothache, pain when chewing, and tooth sensitivity when consuming sweet, hot, or cold foods and drinks. Fortunately, your dentist is able to correct a cavity by removing the decayed part of the tooth and replacing it with a dental filling. When a cavity is left untreated, the decay can progress.
Untreated tooth decay can become a painful dental abscess, which is a pocket of pus in the tooth, as a result of infection. An abscess in the tooth can also infect your gums, or spread to other parts of your body, such as the face, jaw, neck, and other parts of your head. As you can tell, it’s important to take your dental health seriously, as it can affect the rest of your body, too.
How Can I Stay Smart When I Have Candy During The Halloween Season?
1. Don’t forget to brush twice a day and floss at least once as part of your daily hygienic practice. This should already be a part of your daily routine, but it’s important not to have so much fun at parties and during movie marathons that you forget before you fall asleep.
2. Don’t be afraid to play favorites. As fun as it is to have a variety, if you want to make your candy consumption count, it’s okay to trade or give away candy you don’t like.
3. Pick chocolate more often. Good news for chocolate lovers: plain chocolate is less likely to stick to the surface of teeth compared to stickier or gummy candies.
4. Consider having candy after meals. Saliva can help wash away leftover sugar and food debris, and saliva production is increased after a large meal. By saving your candy for dessert, you are strategizing.
5. Don’t snack on candy throughout the day. If you have some candy every hour or two, you risk making your mouth a sugar-rich environment for the bacteria that causes tooth decay.
6. Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is generally a good practice. After having candy, dessert, or another sugary drink, rinsing with water can help wash away leftover sugars on the surface of teeth.
Should I Make Time To Visit The Dentist During The Holidays?
Absolutely. Even though everyone has vacations planned or loved ones coming to visit, your dental well-being is worth the time. As a rule of thumb, you should see your dentist twice a year (or, once every six months) because your dentist can give you a professional clean and look for potential issues that you may have missed.
If you are seeking dental care in Riverside County, consider Rentschler and Rhee in Corona, CA. The team at Rentschler and Rhee is glad to offer general, cosmetic, and emergency dental services for their patients. If you’re seeking a dental practice where you can build a lifelong relationship and are ready for world-class dental care, call Rentschler and Rhee today at 951-735-2608.