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FAQs About Sugar and Your Teeth

Find out how to protect the whole family’s smiles on Halloween and every day!

While Halloween can be tons of fun for the family let’s make sure that the only scary thing this year are the costumes and not your teeth. From the office of your Kalamazoo dentist Dr. Mark Richardson, find out everything you need to know about sugar and your teeth.Sugar

Q. How does sugar affect teeth?

A. While your Kalamazoo dentist has probably told you that eating too much sugar can cause cavities you may not know exactly how this occurs. Our mouths are teeming with bacteria, which feed off the sugar you eat. When you consume sugar the bacteria turn that into acid, which weakens tooth enamel. Over time, these acid attacks can damage healthy enamel and cause cavities. If the cavity is left untreated it can spread to the inner structures of the tooth, which can cause tooth loss.

Q. Are there some Halloween candies that are safer on teeth than others?

A. You may be surprised to hear this, but there are better options when it comes to choosing which treats to eat from your Halloween loot. Since it can be nearly impossible to stay away from sugar altogether, follow these rules after trick-o’-treating to keep your smile looking its best:

  • Try to enjoy the sugar-free equivalents of your favorite candies, whenever possible. These sugarless versions can actually stimulate saliva to wash away bacteria and food particles.
  • Stay away from chewy, sour or extremely sugary treats, which can all be difficult to clean from teeth and can cause the most damage. While it might be hard to believe, dark chocolate may be a better alternative. Even though it does contain sugar, the antioxidants found in dark chocolate have been known to be good for the heart (in moderation, of course!).

Q. What can I do to protect my family’s teeth from Halloween candy this year?

A. Moderation is key! We recommend designating a time of the day in which it’s acceptable to eat Halloween candy. This rule can apply to both children and adults. If your little one knows that they have a certain time to eat their treats they’ll be less likely to hound you about eating candy throughout the day.

Also, your oral care regime must be up to snuff. This means that everyone should brush their teeth immediately after eating sweets and flossing at least once a day. Opt for fluoridated toothpaste, which can remineralize enamel and prevent decay.

Of course, keeping up with those six-month routine cleanings will go a long way to protecting your oral health. Don’t let holiday treats destroy your beautiful smile. Call your dentist in Kalamazoo, MI to schedule your next appointment.

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