At Smile Studio SA we love Halloween! All the costumes, the spooky theme and who could forget….the CANDY!!! I don’t think it was by accident that October was set as National Orthodontic Health Month. The sweet temptations are literally everywhere!

It is also not surprising that my sweet-toothed patients come in for visits in November with broken braces and/or more plaque on their teeth than usual. No judgement here, though….I like sugar just as much as the next guy. Oops….maybe I’m not supposed to admit that. Never the less, it’s true.

Consuming the sugar, however, does not mean you have to let your teeth and oral health deteriorate. The bacteria that naturally exist within your mouth are happy when you eat sugar because it is also what they like to “eat”. When the bacteria are done with the sugar, an acid is left over. Thus, the more sugar you eat, the more this detrimental acid accumulates in the mouth. This process has been understood for a long time now. However, what is less common knowledge is that if you brush off whatever has been eaten within a 20 minute time frame, bacteria do not have enough time to produce a high enough acid level to lead to enamel break down. Now, you will obviously not get the same benefit if you are indulging in a 7 course meal over a three hour time period obviously!

So for those candy lovers, I suggest to only eat a few pieces at a time and brush it off immediately. This is especially important for those wearing braces. Orthodontic patients wearing traditional braces get more food trapped and left in the mouth than someone without braces while eating. This translates to more acid in the mouth and more damage to the teeth. Cavities can develop very quickly while in braces if excellent hygiene is not maintained. That scares me more than any Halloween costume!!!

So Beware…it’s not just goblins, ghosts and ghouls you may encounter with the spooky holiday! Scary bacteria are waiting to turn your mouth into a haunted attraction. Never fear however, a little dental hygiene 101 can keep the monsters in check.