5 Things at Halloween That are Good for Your Teeth
You might expect your dentist’s life work is to warn all about the dangers of sugar and candy. But let’s be honest, even we have trouble resisting snack-sized Snickers bars around Halloween! So indulge a bit and afterward consider treating yourself to one of these five finishers that counteract sugar’s spooky effects and help maintain that wicked smile.
The benefits of calcium in dairy products has been in the public eye for decades. As it turns out, the same stuff that’s good for your bones also fortifies your tooth enamel. And while milk and yogurt are good for your teeth, cheese has some really special qualities. Cheese contains casein, a protein that helps with enamel repair, and pyrophosphates, a type of salt or ester often added to fluorides and toothpaste to help remineralize teeth. Studies show that snacking on even very small amounts of cheese can help increase the pH of dental plaque which neutralizes the acid levels in your mouth and, in turn, lowers the incidence of tooth decay.
Here’s something to chew on: xylitol, a natural sugar derived from plants and found in some sugar-free gums, does double duty when it comes to cavity prevention. First, it reduces the type of acids that bacteria – those pesky plaque-producing ghouls – thrive in. In addition to helping create an environment where cavities can’t easily form, chewing xylitol gum also boosts saliva production, and saliva also helps clear away the harmful acids in your mouth.
Munching away on raw vegetables such as celery, carrots, cauliflower and broccoli can work to scrub superficial stains from your teeth and break apart plaque. Raw celery is particularly cleansing, with a high water content to help further wash away that frightful plaque, and its tiny strands can work their way in between teeth, getting at hard-to-reach places. All that chomping on crisp veggies also increases your saliva production, which escorts bacteria out of your mouth.
Pears and Apples
We’re lucky that Halloween takes place in the fall, when fresh pears and apples are in abundance. Pears are a powerhouse at neutralizing oral acids and can even lower the acidity of plaque itself. Apples, like crunchy vegetables, help scrub plaque from teeth, and they contain natural xylitol. Both apples and pears are a source of malic acid – a good acid that can help whiten teeth.
A drink of water is an excellent post-candy play. This natural wonder swishes away sugars, acids, bacteria, and food particles like remnants of chocolate, nougat, wafer, peanut butter, caramel…you get the idea. Drinking water also helps your body create more saliva, which neutralizes acids.
So this Halloween, don’t be haunted by the creepy thought of cavities eating away at your teeth. Just follow-up your sweet snacks with something from our five favorites above, and a fun holiday is in the bag!