Halloween Candy and your Teeth

Two carved pumpkins on an outdoor wooden table.

Two carved pumpkins on an outdoor wooden table.

Halloween is just around the corner, and with it comes a seemingly endless supply of candy. Now is one of those times of year when we all need to review some basic facts of oral hygiene and make sure that we’re practicing proper at-home dental care. Of course, if you’re reading this, then you’re most likely an adult and not in so much danger of sugar excess yourself; it’s the kids that we tend to worry about during the pumpkin season.

Every year, we celebrate this holiday by providing literal bucket-loads of candy to children. Something that makes them endlessly happy and stresses their parents out in equal measure. The good news is that it’s entirely possible to let your children have the sweets of this holiday without putting their teeth or gums at serious risk.

It’s true that sugar is one of the most detrimental things for human teeth, but only when it’s allowed to linger in the mouth and feed the bacteria that live there. If your children are brushing their teeth twice-daily, flossing, and the candy extravaganza isn’t a prolonged event, then their teeth should make it through the Halloween season just fine.

The ways that sugar damages our teeth are indirect but not too complicated. Human mouths are host to various types of bacteria, some of which may be an important component of our blood pressure regulation, according to recent research. However, even if there are some benefits to these bacteria, it is quickly outweighed by consequences if the bacterial colonies are allowed to grow unchecked. This is where sugar comes in. These bacteria love nothing more than sugar, and after they eat, they secrete an acidic waste that eats away at the enamel of your teeth and irritates the tissue of your gums. This waste is the primary way in which bacteria cause damage to your teeth, but once the enamel has been eroded, these colonies will try to move into the softer under-tissue of the damaged tooth, and this will become a cavity. If left unchecked, this can develop into dangerous infections.

An infection in the mouth is a risky business because research has shown that such illnesses can enter the bloodstream with greater ease than from most other parts of the body. This is due to the membrane of the mouth and the abundance of capillaries that exist so close to the surface. This design flaw, if we may call it that, can lead to complicated problems for the heart if infections develop in the mouth and are left untreated.

While the worst-case scenarios are frightening, they are also easy to prevent in many cases. Brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and seeing your Tulsa dentist twice a year for a Tulsa teeth cleaning, should be enough to prevent most problems from developing. Although preventative care is the most crucial step in protecting your oral health, it isn’t perfect; problems can still develop. This is another reason why it is so essential to go in for those regular Tulsa teeth cleaning appointments; while there, the dentist will be able to examine your mouth and assess it for any problems that may be emerging.

So, don’t worry too much about letting your children indulge in this yearly sugar rush, but do make sure they’re up to date with their oral hygiene. If they’re overdue for a Tulsa teeth cleaning, then click on the link and schedule an appointment with our Tulsa dentist today.

Photo by Bekir Dönmez on Unsplash