Most children will trick or treat at the end of the month, return home with a bag full of candy, that can turn anyone's mouth into a nightmare. By taking a few preventive steps, your children can enjoy Halloween treats without harming their teeth. The two main offenders to your teeth are acid and sugar; which both maintain the flavor, texture, tartness, color and shelf life of candy.
Many parents already give candy out in small quantities, and this is the most obvious step. Certain foods such as sweets and soda are easily linked to tooth decay, however all foods can promote tooth decay if eaten in excess. The key is to teach kids to eat in moderation and make sure that they take proper care of their teeth.
Acid in Candy
We all recognize candy is high in sugar, but many candies also have acid. Damaging acids form in the mouth every time you eat a sugary snack and continue to affect the teeth for at least 20 minutes, before they are neutralized. Also, some sour candies pH level of acid is almost as bad as battery acid. Water has an acidity of 7 and battery acid has a level of 1 on the pH scale. The acidity of your average candy of even the mildest of tangingess start around a 3 to a 2.5 of the pH scale. But, Warhead Sours have an acidity level of 1.4 and Altoids Mango sours are a 1.9!
In general, natural acids can be washed away by drinking water. Ironically, brushing soon after consuming acidic foods or beverages can actually cause more damage, because teeth are porous. After eating acidic foods, you should wait at least an hour before brushing.
Sugar-free gum and Xylitol
Sugar-free gum with xylitol is a treat that helps prevent cavities, and a smart choice for Halloween bags. Parents can also give it to their children to help neutralize the effects of sugary snacks after eating their. Chewing sugar-free gum can even reduce cavities, if it contains the artificial sweetener xylitol. The chewing motion stimulates the flow of saliva, which helps cleanse teeth. The sweetening agents in sugarless gum are effective in combating the bacteria in plaque and fighting the acid that eats away at enamel.
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