We say it every year: “We’re not opening the Halloween candy early!” But then what happens? A sugar craving hits, and before we know it, all our favorites in the variety pack are gone. Meanwhile, the kids discover there’s candy in the house (courtesy of the wrappers we forgot to bury in the garbage) and soon the whole bag is wiped out!
1. Be Selective About Your Sweets
When you’re pawing through that glorious pile of candy your kids bring home (hey, safety first!) you can protect your teeth from tooth decay by being selective. A good rule is: the stickier the candy, the worse it is for your teeth.
Sticky candy is harder to remove from the crevices of the teeth, so it has more opportunity to produce fast-multiplying, decay-causing bacteria. Hard candy like lollipops bathe the teeth in sugar for long periods, and sour candy is ultra-acidic, which harms enamel. The good news for chocolate lovers? It’s easy to wash off the teeth.
2. Timing Is Everything
Did you know? Each acid attack on the teeth lasts about 20 minutes, so if you’re snacking on candy all day long, your teeth are under a constant attack from acid. Acid is formed when bacteria breaks sugar down, and it’s a problem for our teeth because it strips the enamel of important minerals and wears it away.
Instead, just be mindful of when you have candy. Maybe you have a piece (or 2) after dinner. Or maybe you have it during your normal snack-time, followed by some crunchy produce, like carrots, apples or celery, which naturally help clean the teeth of plaque and can help remove sugar in hard-to-reach places. (Read more about the best and worst foods for your teeth.)
3. Trade Your Toothbrush for Water
Rather than reaching for your toothbrush right after having candy, reach for a glass of water instead. Wait, what? We know, we’ve all been taught that brushing is best, but in this case, it’s not. If your teeth are bathed in acid, the scrubbing action of a toothbrush allows the acid to be even more damaging on the enamel. Not only does this lead to decay, but also sensitive teeth. Instead, thoroughly rinse your mouth with water and then wait 20–30 minutes before brushing.
4. Grab Some Gum
Er, by gum, we don’t mean the sugary stuff hidden in those tasty suckers! Rather, chew some sugar-free gum after having candy. This will stimulate saliva flow, our smiles’ natural way to counteract acid, plaque and bacteria.
5. Use Fluoride to Protect Teeth from Cavities (But Not Just Any Old Products!)
If you and your kids have a love for all candies sweet and sticky, products with fluoride are a must in the fight against tooth decay. This naturally occurring mineral helps prevent cavities by remineralizing and strengthening enamel and can even reverse the early stages of decay! (Learn more about why kids should use fluoride dental products.)
But keep in mind: quality counts!
Many dental products use stannous fluoride, which can cause yellow tooth stains. Not Oxyfresh! Our unique Cavity Protection Mouthwash & low abrasion Cavity Protection Toothpaste use a safe and effective concentration of non-staining neutral sodium fluoride. Plus, there’s no burning alcohol, no artificial flavors, and absolutely no dyes to protect your pearly whites even more. And with mild, refreshing peppermint oil, the whole family will love them!
Psst … you can save green as you save your teeth from decay by getting both products – plus a breath-freshening tongue cleaner – in our exclusive Cavity-Fighting Kit. It’s a favorite of dentists and candy lovers around the globe because it WORKS.