There are only 21 days left until Halloween. That means that three weeks from now, kids, teenagers and even adults all over the country will be indulging in loads of sugary treats. Snickers, Sweet Tarts, Airheads, Twizzlers and more; these are the names we have come to associate with Halloween. Many parents worry about their children getting cavities from eating all these sweets. After all, we were all told as children that eating too much sugar causes tooth decay. But is there really any science to back this up or is it just an old wive’s tale? The answer to this question is a little more complicated than you might think.
The fact is that tooth decay is not actually caused by sugar, it is caused by bacteria. But wait a minute, don’t start loading up on the candy and sugary treats just yet. This harmful bacteria is triggered to make acid whenever you eat anything with carbohydrates, and sugar is a carbohydrate. Therefore, you can safely say that eating sugar contributes to tooth decay.
However, you do not have to give up sugar completely. You can reduce your risk of tooth decay after eating sugar or carbohydrates by limiting the amount of time your teeth are exposed to these foods. You can do this by rinsing your mouth with water after eating sugary foods, by rinsing with a mouthwash or by brushing and flossing your teeth. This will prevent the sugar from staying on the surfaces of your teeth and triggering the harmful bacteria to form. Sealants and fluoride treatments are also good preventative measures that can be used to strengthen your teeth and make them less susceptible to decay.
When it comes to candy and other sugary treats, some are more likely to cause tooth decay than others. Particularly, foods like gummy bears, fruit roll ups and even raisins are more likely to cause tooth decay if they are not removed because they stick to the surfaces of your teeth, bathing them in sugar.
If your child is going Trick-or-Treating on Halloween and will be coming home with bags full of candy, it is important to talk to your child about enjoying sugary treats in moderation and the importance of practicing good oral hygiene after eating candy. Happy Halloween!
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