Valley Dental Care

Pop Quiz: Do You Know How to Handle a Lost Tooth?

Do you think you know what it takes to handle a dental emergency like losing a tooth? Let’s put your knowledge to the test! By answering these questions correctly, you just may be able to salvage your tooth if this situation should ever occur to you!

1. True or False: When you recover the tooth, it is important to pick it up by the crown.

Answer: True. It is important to handle your tooth carefully and do not pick it up by the fleshy root. Otherwise, you risk causing additional damage to the tooth. Instead, pick it up by the crown (the white part of the tooth).

2. True or False: If there’s dirt on the tooth, quickly scrub it under water to clean it off.

Answer: False. Do not scrub the tooth. Instead, you should gently rinse it off with water, milk, saline solution, or even saliva. You might also consider dropping it into a bowl of any of these liquids in order to clean it off as carefully as possible. The goal is to sterilize the tooth and to do so while not losing any vital tissue.

3. True or False: A good way to protect your tooth while you head to the dentist is to reinsert it into the socket.

Answer: True. While this may seem unappealing, putting the tooth back into the socket can be a great way to protect the root of your tooth while you make your way to the dentist. Be certain that you’ve sterilized the tooth first, and try holding it in place by lightly biting down on a clean washcloth or a piece of gauze.

4. True or False: You can transport the tooth in a bag of water if needed.

Answer: False. Do not transport your tooth in water, as this will not help to preserve the tooth. Instead, pour milk or a saline solution into a bag to carry the tooth to the dentist. If you don’t have saline solution, you can make some by using a ¼ teaspoon of salt and a cup of warm water. Water alone should only be used as a last resort.

5. True or False: It is important to head to the dentist or emergency room right away after losing a tooth.

Answer: True. The faster you get the dentist, the better your chances of having your tooth restored to its proper place. If you cannot make it to the dentist, you should go to the emergency room.

Congratulations! You now know the proper procedure to follow in order to save your tooth in light of this dental emergency. If you ever have the unfortunate experience of losing a tooth, be certain to call Valley Dental Care right away. We’ll help you to restore your tooth and make you good as new! And, should you lose the tooth entirely, don’t fret. At Valley Dental Care, we offer a number of cosmetic and restorative treatments that can help you to repair your smile.

8 Signs You May Be at Greater Risk for Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Gum disease is one of the most pervasive health issues (impacting 75% of patients over the age of 35!), yet many people don’t even realize they are at risk. Unfortunately, gum disease can have a serious impact on your overall health, as it can lead to heart and respiratory disease, stroke, complications with pregnancy and more if left untreated. Luckily, this disease is highly preventable—you just need to know the signs! Here are some factors to look out for that may increase your risk of gum disease.

1. You’re over the age of 65.

According to the Center for Disease Control, 70% of people over the age of 65 have some form of gum disease. Therefore, it is important for those in this age group to stick to regular check-ups with their dentist.

2. You are a smoker or use tobacco products.

Tobacco usage is linked to a number of health issues, including periodontal disease. In fact, studies have shown that smoking is one of the most significant predictors for the eventual development of gum disease. Unfortunately, smoking not only puts you at risk for gum disease, but it also can interfere with the successful treatment of the issue as well.

3. Your family has a history of gum disease.

Even with the best oral healthcare routine, some people just happen to be more prone to periodontal disease than others. Those who have a history of gum disease in their family should be particularly diligent about visiting the dentist every six months. This will allow them to catch gum disease in its earliest stages, should it occur, and take the necessary steps to intervene.

4. You suffer from chronic stress.

When you’re stressed, the hormone called cortisol is released, which can negatively impact your immune system. This allows bacteria to thrive—including those found in your mouth. These bacteria tend to inflame your gums, leading to the earliest stage of gum disease known as gingivitis. Should you leave this gingivitis unchecked, it can progress to gum disease.

5. You’re taking medication that can impact your oral health.

Certain oral contraceptives, heart medication, anti-depressants, and other medications can have an impact on your oral health. In particular, certain medications can cause dry mouth, making it more difficult for your glands to produce the saliva that is necessary to wash away bacteria from your teeth and gums. Therefore, it is important to update your dentist on your current medications when you go into to your biannual check-up.

6. You clench or grind your teeth in your sleep.

If you grind or clench your teeth at night, there is a chance that you are causing damage to your teeth and supporting tissues. Over time, bruxism (or teeth grinding) can cause your teeth to loosen, creating pockets in the gums that can harbor bacteria and irritate the gums.

7. You suffer from certain chronic diseases.

Systemic diseases that impact your body’s ability to fight off infection can also put you at higher risk for gum disease. If you have diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or cardiovascular disease, you may want to discuss this with your dentist to ensure prevention of gum disease and other oral health issues.

8. You eat a diet low in nutrients.

If your body is lacking in important nutrients, there is a chance you have a compromised immune system. This makes your body susceptible to many kinds of health issues, including infections of the gums.

If you have any of the above risk factors, be sure to call Valley Dental Care today to set up your appointment! By stopping in our Aurora or Oswego offices, we can help you to prevent gum disease and keep you in good oral health.

How to Choose the Right Toothbrush

Did you know it is recommended that you change your toothbrush every three months? Perhaps it is time for you to start looking into your next toothbrush! There are plenty of things to consider when you buy, but how do you choose which type is best for you? Here are a few things you should know about each type of toothbrush as you make your decision.

Manual Toothbrush

A manual toothbrush is the most common kind you’ll see for quite a few reasons—it is by far the most affordable option and it gets the job done. That said, it requires your own power and technique to ensure you’re cleaning your teeth properly. Brushing up and down and in circles on each tooth may require a bit more time, but the manual toothbrush has stood the test of time as a reliable method for cleaning your teeth and ensuring gum health.

So which manual toothbrush is the right one for you? There are a few factors to consider:

  • Bristle Design – Studies have shown that angled or multi-leveled bristles are much more successful in removing plaque than flat-trimmed bristles.
  • Bristle Strength – The American Dental Association recommends using soft bristled toothbrushes to minimize the chances of hurting your gums. (However, it should be noted that medium bristles are more effective at removing biofilm from your teeth).
  • Safety and Efficacy – You may also want to review the ADA’s list of manual toothbrushes that have received the Seal of Acceptance. This indicates that the toothbrush you’re considering will not only be effective in removing plaque and preventing gingivitis, but that it is also safe to use. The American Dental Association reviews the toothbrush’s materials for safe use in the mouth and durability. So be certain to check out before you buy your next brush!

Electric Toothbrush

Your next toothbrush option would be the electric toothbrush, which is essentially a level up from the manual brush. An electric brush has rotating bristles that can increase your number of brushstrokes to around 2,500 to 7,000 brushstrokes per minute. So while the electric toothbrush may be more expensive, it’s capability of doing a lot of the brushing work for you is a major perk (especially for those with mobility disabilities). Typically, an electric toothbrush’s bristles will either rotate or scrub forward and backward in a mechanized motion. They are rechargeable—so you won’t need to worry about the batteries dying— and they often come with a warrantee.

Here are a few things you should look for when buying an electric toothbrush:

  • Easy Operation – Your toothbrush should be easy to use! Make sure the controls aren’t too complicated and that the brush size and shape will make it easy to maneuver.
  • Helpful Features – Many electric toothbrushes include a two-minute timer that ensures you’re brushing the recommended amount. Travel cases and charging stands may also be useful features to you!
  • Durability – Brush heads will typically need to be replaced every three months. Make sure your toothbrush has good performance ratings—you don’t want to buy a toothbrush that has hitches or surges.

Sonic Toothbrush

The next level beyond an electric toothbrush would be a sonic toothbrush! A sonic toothbrush can clean your teeth with 30,000 brush strokes a minute, and are great for those who have difficulty with mobility. These toothbrushes use high velocity speeds and high frequency sound waves to efficiently remove plaque and even power the fluids in your mouth into tough to reach spots like the gum line and between your teeth. For this reason, you simply only need to guide your sonic toothbrush to the various ridges of your mouth, rather than making any brushing movements as you might with the manual or electric toothbrush.

Some things you’ll want to consider when buying a toothbrush are as follows:

  • Price – As you’re shopping for toothbrushes, you’ll want to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck. Sonic toothbrushes can get expensive, so keep an eye on the price tag!
  • Helpful Features – Just like the electric toothbrush, there are many individual features that can enhance your brushing experience, from timers to extended charge time. In fact, some even have Bluetooth!

Want to learn more about how to take the best care of your teeth? Call Valley Dental Care to schedule a check-up today!

Considering Dental Implants? We’ve Answered Your Most Common Questions!

If you have missing or damaged teeth, chances are you’ve been hearing a lot about dental implants lately. This cutting edge technology is a permanent, natural-looking solution that can remedy your smile without partials or dentures. Dental implants allow patients to eat, speak, and smile with confidence. Want to know more? Here we’ve answered some of the most common questions patients asked about dental implants.

1. What are dental implants?

Dental implants are a permanent, natural looking solution for those suffering from missing or severely damaged teeth. Made with titanium, a dental implant is a strong prosthetic tooth that fits securely and with total comfort.

2. How do dental implants work?

During surgery, dental implants are inserted into the gums, where the titanium implant will ultimately fuse with the jawbone. This allows the implant to have the same strength and durability as a natural tooth. Once the implant has healed, your titanium implant will be covered with a custom-made crown to ensure the device blends in with the surrounding teeth.

3. How does the process of getting an implant work?

  1. To get a dental implant, you will first have a consultation with your dentist, where he or she will determine if these devices are a good solution for you. If you have a chronic illness, structural issues in the jawbone, or use tobacco, dental implants may not be right for you. Once you’ve been cleared for the procedure, your dentist will work closely with you to create a treatment plan that works.
  2. During the surgical procedure, the dentist will use an anesthetic, so please notify your dentist if you have any issues with anesthesia. Then, he or she will insert the titanium implant into the gums.
  3. Once the site has healed and the implant has fused with the jawbone, you will return to have a customized crown placed over the implant. You may experience soreness or mild discomfort during the healing process, so your dentist may recommend over-the-counter pain medication at this time. Overall, the entire process should take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks.

4. Will it be difficult to speak or eat with implants?

People often find that their damaged or decaying teeth cause structural issues, and therefore negatively impact their speech, chewing, or even facial appearance. Therefore, when the tooth is replaced with a dental implant, most patients find that their speech and chewing actually improve as it restores any structural insufficiencies. Implants fit securely, so you won’t have to worry about them coming loose as you eat.

5. Will others be able to tell that I have a dental implant?

We customize the crown that covers your implant so that it blends seamlessly and beautifully with the surrounding teeth. Not only will your implant look natural, but replacing your damaged tooth will improve the aesthetic appearance of your smile.

6. Are dental implants difficult to take care of?

One of the biggest perks of getting dental implants is that they don’t require any special care or maintenance. Simply brush and floss regularly and practice good oral hygiene to ensure that your implants remain in good condition!

7. How long do implants last?

Dental implants have a 98% success rate. This means, with a healthy dental care regimen, you can expect your implants to last you for the rest of your life. They are intended to be permanent!

If you want to know if dental implants could work for you, call Valley Dental Care today to set up your consultation in our Aurora or Oswego offices. We’ll help to create a treatment plan that works for you.

The Facts on Flossing: Why It’s So Important

We can’t stress enough how critical flossing is to your dental hygiene routine. We know how tempting it is to floss only before your biannual dental checkup, but you may be causing major damage to your oral health in the process. Need more convincing? Consider these five important facts on how flossing can benefit you.

1. Flossing fights tooth decay.

While brushing regularly helps remove food particles and bacteria from the surfaces of your tooth, the only surefire way to get those hard to reach places is by flossing. If bacteria are left on or in between your teeth, it creates acids that slowly wear away at the enamel—causing a cavity. Regular flossing allows you to prevent this damaging process before it starts.

2. Flossing freshens your breath.

Flossing is a critical step in preventing halitosis, or bad breath. Halitosis can by many things, but it is often caused by the food particles and bacteria that are trapped between your teeth. By flossing regularly, you can dislodge these food particles and eliminate the odor-causing bacteria.

3. Flossing helps you reduce the risk of gingivitis and gum disease.

Have you ever forgotten to floss for a while, and had your gums bleed once you got back in the habit? This is a big red flag! This bleeding is caused by inflammation or irritation in the gums, and can be a surefire sign of gingivitis. (Be sure to visit your dentist at Valley Dental Care right away if your gums are bleeding.) Eventually, this gingivitis can turn to gum disease if left untreated. Flossing will help to prevent this serious condition from occurring by eliminating the harmful, damaging bacteria from your gum line.

4. Flossing can protect your overall health.

Periodontal disease (gum disease) can wreak havoc on the body once it enters the bloodstream. It can even cause serious, life-threatening illnesses, such as heart and respiratory disease. It has also been linked to stroke, diabetes, and complications with pregnancy. Because flossing is such a critical defense against gum disease, you’ll find that it also will help to defend you against these other, very serious conditions.

5. Flossing will improve the appearance of your smile.

A solid flossing routine is critical for maintaining the health and appearance of your teeth and gums. For starters, flossing prevents decay and gingivitis, which can leave a yellow tint along your gum line. Plus, by preventing gum disease through flossing, you also prevent the bone deterioration effects of the disease—which gives your jaw a sunken appearance. By flossing regularly, you can ensure that your mouth stays healthy and looks great!

Want to learn more ways to boost your oral health? Consider calling Valley Dental Care to schedule your regular check up. Not only will be perform a professional cleaning and exam, but we’ll also give you a rundown of the best ways to prevent tooth decay, gingivitis, and more. Contact our Aurora and Oswego offices today to schedule your appointment!

The Truth about Cavities: 5 Facts Everyone Should Know

With the holiday season in full swing, sugary treats are in abundance—which means your teeth just might be at risk for tooth decay. Before you begin to indulge in your favorite sweets, here are a few things you should know about cavities and how to prevent them.

1. Sugar really does “rot your teeth,” but other foods cause cavities too.

We’ve heard that sugar rots your teeth since we were children, and with good reason! When plaque breaks down sugars in your mouth, it creates acids that soften your dental enamel (the outer layer and protective shell of your tooth). Essentially, the more sugar you consume, the more acid the plaque produces. However, acidic foods can wear away the enamel on your teeth too—such as coffee, citrus fruits, and soft drinks. This process is known as tooth decay and, over time, this decay will leave a pit or cavity on the surface of the tooth. So each time you indulge, you’re putting your teeth at risk if you don’t take the proper precautions!

2. Timing is everything.

Even healthy foods like fruits can lead to cavities, so it’s difficult to eliminate sugar from our diet completely. However, brushing your teeth right after meals can have a positive impact on your oral health. From the moment that the sugar enters your mouth, it takes about 20 minutes for the bacteria in plaque to convert it from sugar into an acid. This acid is what can create cavities over time. By brushing your teeth before this process can begin, you remove the plaque and protect your teeth from damage.

3. Cavities are easily treatable if taken care of promptly!

It is very important that you visit your dentist immediately if you think you have a cavity. At Valley Dental Care, we offer tooth colored fillings that not only treat the point of decay, but also are virtually invisible. By treating your cavity with a filling immediately, you prevent the decay from further damaging the tooth and needing more extensive repairs.

4. Cavities are more likely to form between teeth.

Bacteria can hide in all of the tiny nooks and crannies in your mouth and, if left over time, can slowly attack your enamel until a cavity forms. This is why it’s much more likely for cavities to form between the teeth than on the open surfaces. You might also find that cavities often form on the hard-to-reach places on your molars. This is why careful brushing and flossing is very important to preventing cavities.

5. There are quite a few things you can do to prevent cavities.

Never fear – preventing cavities can be easy! First, be certain to brush and floss regularly, and make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride so you can prevent cavities by slowing down the breakdown process of your dental enamel. Eating healthy is another important step to preventing cavities – try cutting down on candies, sodas, and other junk foods that are heavy in sugar. When you do eat these sugary sweets, be sure to brush immediately afterwards. Finally, regular check-ups with your dentist are critical to maintaining your oral health and ensuring tooth decay is stopped at its earliest stages.

Think you might be suffering from a cavity? Call Valley Dental Care today to schedule your check-up and stop tooth decay in its tracks.

Fact or Fiction: The Most Common Myths about Mouthwash

When used properly, mouthwash can be of big benefit to your oral health. Yet there seems to be quite a few common misconceptions about mouth rinses. Can you separate common mouthwash myths from the facts? Let’s find out!

  • Mouthwash cures bad breath. False – While mouthwash can certainly reduce bad breath, the effects are not long-term. Saliva dilutes the effects of mouthwash and some causes of bad breath reside in the lungs, not the mouth. Also, bad breath may actually be a symptom of something greater—such as stomach issues—and therefore is only masked by the effects of mouthwash.
  • Mouthwash fights gum disease. True – Bacteria that lingers on the teeth can cause gingivitis, which can lead to periodontal disease if left untreated. By using mouthwash, you can prevent the bacteria that would otherwise infect the gums and dental sockets.
  • Mouthwash can replace brushing if necessary. False – Mouthwash can help to reduce the level of bacteria in the mouth, but it cannot remove food residue and plaque as effectively as brushing. For this reason, mouthwash should only be used as a supplement to your oral care routine.
  • Mouthwash fights cavities.
 True – Fluoride rinse is an excellent method to help fight cavities. It strengthens your enamel and demineralizes your teeth, allowing it to prevent tooth decay. Therefore, mouthwash is a vital part of any oral health regimen.
  • Mouthwash fights plaque. True – While it doesn’t necessarily remove existing plaque, it does prevent the buildup of plaque. Using mouthwash is an excellent method to keep your teeth healthy, but it must also be paired with brushing and flossing to completely remove plaque from your teeth.
  • All mouthwashes are the same. False – There are a few types of mouthwash that serve different purposes. For example, antibacterial mouthwash will help you to control bad breath and plaque buildup by killing the bacteria that causes it. Fluoride rinse, on the other hand, is intended for those who don’t drink enough fluoridated water to help them prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Prescription rinses are for those suffering from gum disease or gingivitis, as it has bacteria-fighting properties.
  • Pregnant women shouldn’t use mouthwash. 
False – Actually, mouthwash is highly recommended for pregnant women. Prevention of dental issues like gingivitis and cavities can decrease the likelihood of pregnancy complications. By using mouthwash, pregnant women are much less likely to go into early labor.
  • It doesn’t matter how long you rinse with mouthwash. False – The alcohol content in mouthwash can make the rinse sting a bit, so it is understandable why some spit out mouthwash after only a few seconds. However, in order to have effective results, the mouthwash needs to be in contact with your gums and teeth for about 30 seconds. We recommend using the rinse for as long as is written on the instructions for use.

Want to learn more about how you can improve your oral health? Call Valley Dental Care to schedule a regular check-up so you can learn more about how to keep your mouth in good health and improve your smile.

Coffee Stains: Top 5 Ways to Fight Them

There’s nothing that goes better with this cold weather than a hot cup of coffee. However, you might begin to notice that your favorite beverage can also be one of the leading causes of stains on your teeth.

Why is this the case? Your dental enamel is the hardest substance in your body, but it isn’t as flat and smooth as you might think. Actually, there are many microscopic indentations and ridges all along your teeth. This allows them to easily trap food and drink particles on the surface, and the pigments from dark-colored drinks like coffee just happen to be the most noticeable. Plus, with the considerable amounts of acid in coffee, you can also expect it to leave a yellow residue on the teeth.

While avoiding coffee completely is the best way to avoid these unfortunate coffee stains, we understand that can be quite a feat! Therefore, here are some of the leading ways you can fight tough coffee stains and keep your smile sparkling white without having to give up your daily “cup of joe.”

  1. Brush and floss immediately after you drink. To fight yellow stains, you can simply brush and floss immediately after you drink your coffee. This will remove the drink residue from the surface of your teeth before the staining agents are able to really embed themselves into the cracks and ridges of your dental enamel.
  2. If you can’t brush, at least rinse. We understand that you’re not able to carry a toothbrush everywhere you go. Try swishing water in your mouth after drinking coffee in order to get some of the residue off of your teeth.
  3. Drink coffee only on break times. Sometimes it can be tempting to sit and drink your coffee over the course of the day. However, this means your coffee will have longer to set into your teeth before you have a chance to finally brush them. Try drinking your coffee only over your break and then rinse immediately after to avoid this prolonged exposure.
  4. Drink with a straw. By drinking with a straw, you allow the staining liquids to bypass the surface of your teeth. While some of the drink will still touch your enamel, you will definitely decrease your teeth’s exposure to the dark pigment of your coffee.
  5. Visit Valley Dental Care for a cleaning or professional whitening treatment. Most importantly, to keep a beautiful white smile, you must also have healthy teeth. Visit our dental offices in Aurora and Oswego for a regular check-up to ensure that the stains on your teeth are not caused by problems such as tooth decay or gingivitis. We will also scrape any residue off of your teeth and perform a deep cleaning to bring your teeth back to health. Upon request, we can also provide a professional whitening treatment which can remove years of stains from the surface of your teeth. The treatment only takes an hour, but is substantially more effective and longer lasting than over-the-counter whitening products.

To take the first step toward a whiter smile, call Valley Dental Care in Aurora and Oswego today to schedule your appointment.

Quick Tips for a Healthy Body This Holiday Season

The holidays are gearing up, and the goodies, gifts, and treats sometimes puts an overload on the blood sugar creating a difficult road on control. Therefore, as a reminder, this post is to help everyone-those with diabetes, borderline, or caregivers-to understand the connection between oral care and its effects on the kidney and liver functions of the body.

Blood sugar affects the entire body. Those with diabetes are aware of that fact. However, sometimes the awareness isn’t usually specifically including the kidney and liver functions. Also, those that take particular care of themselves often forget one of the most important aspects of their being; their oral care. They don’t realize there’s a link between the two. In order to better understand the discussion, let’s re-cap a little on the purposes and functions of the kidney and liver within the body and their relation to the teeth and gums.

  • Kidney – Acts as a filter to get rid of waste created after digestion. Allows the good nutrients, and oxygen to continue in the blood stream to promote good overall health, including body tissues (like gums)
  • Liver – Acts as a storage , manufacturer and supplier of the fuel (such as glucose) needed for the body to energize. It regulates and maintains blood sugar according to information from the hormones called insulin and glucagon.
  • Gums – Along with bone help to hold teeth in their place.
  • Gum Disease – Deteriorates the gums and bone through prolonged bacterial infection. In time, this situation creates pain and severe discomfort while eating, especially those who wear dentures.

Any time infection occurs in a diabetic patient, including oral infection, glucose is more difficult to control. The kidney and liver functions become out of balance. The liver produces either too much or too little glucose, and becomes incapable of relying upon the signals from insulin and glucagon hormones.

The kidneys must pass more blood through the filtering system. Over time the kidney’s begin to leak (kidney disease) the good proteins and nutrients in the blood along with the waste products. Without intervention, kidney disease progresses to sometimes dangerous levels.

Those who have poor blood sugar control have more complications with maintaining oral health. First, as the blood vessels thicken, gum disease is easily developed due to a lack of nutrients and oxygen in your system. Second, periodontal disease, an advanced stage of gum disease happens from prolonged bacterial infection. This advancement creates additional difficulty in getting blood sugar under control, and continually affects the kidneys and liver. Finally, the gums are slower to heal, and eventually won’t heal, if the disease becomes advanced enough without intervention. However, there is good news too.

What is the Good News?

When good habits are in place, trouble with oral conditions are usually no different from those consumers without diabetes. The following reminders will help with oral and diabetic care.

  • Have regular visits with your dentist.
  • Always ensure your dentist has the most up-to-date information regarding your medications.
  • Do your best at maintaining healthy blood sugar control.
  • Eat a proper diet.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Keep oral hygiene practices as much a priority as other diabetic maintenance.
  • Don’t procrastinate early intervention measures for oral care.

Diabetic patients know better than anyone that everything functioning within the body links with each other. The best way to ensure you’re able to keep your teeth and gums healthy occurs through good practice measure. Taking initiative in good oral care also helps you maintain a healthy blood sugar which in turn helps your kidney and liver functions. Be strong and be healthy through good practices.

Contact Valley Dental Care to obtain more information from your dentist regarding the relation between diabetic oral care and its importance toward the health of your kidney and liver functions.

What Halloween Candy is the Worst for Teeth?

For parents, they know that Halloween is one of the biggest hazards to a children’s teeth, mostly from their own childhood Halloween candy binging. However, not all candy created equal in terms of the damage it can do to young teeth. In fact, while most candy is not great for teeth, there are some types that are vastly worse than others. If you are prepping to protect your child’s teeth for Halloween or even just curious for your own occasional candy indulgence, here are the types of Halloween candy that are the worst for your teeth.

The Worst Halloween Candy for Teeth

  • Caramel, Nougat, Taffy Candies – These are the absolute worst candies for your teeth. The reason behind it should be pretty obvious – they stick to absolutely everything. The sticky binders like nougat, caramel, or taffy are made from pure sugar and they are meant to be chewy and sticky. While this means they may hold ingredients like nuts or coconut together as well as have a pleasant mouth feel, they cling to teeth. This gives bacteria sugar to feed on and a place to cling to teeth. This in turn produces the acid that causes cavities.
  • Lollipops – Lollipops aren’t quite as bad as those sticky caramel treats, but they are still pretty bad. So long as your child isn’t chewing on them, lollipops won’t stick, but they too take a huge amount of time to dissolve. This means that teeth are exposed to a prolonged period of sugar and can actually make your mouth more acidic, the desired environment for bacteria as well as bad for enamel.
  • Hard Candies – Similar to lollipops, hard candies are typically just slightly better than lollipops because you don’t eat them for as long. However, it is still a prolonged amount of time that teeth are exposed to sugar. The worst hard candy is the sour candies that can actually change a mouth’s pH in a way that will cause bacteria to thrive.
  • Chocolate – Surprisingly enough, pure chocolate bars are actually the least harmful to the teeth of the candy that is still bad for teeth. It dissolves fairly quickly and doesn’t typically stick to teeth, but the sugar is still an issue.

What Types of Halloween Candy are Best for Teeth?

The only tried and true good treat for teeth on Halloween (besides fruit that no one wants in their Halloween bag) is sugarless gum. As it is sweetened with ingredients other than pure sugar, it is something that you can enjoy without it changing the pH of your mouth or sticking to your teeth.

However, when compare to all the above candy, sugarless gum kind of comes up a little short. If you are being diligent to your child’s teeth this Halloween, you could also try introducing them to dark chocolate. Not only doesn’t it resist sticking to teeth, but dark chocolate actually has less sugar than milk chocolate. Having your child develop a taste for dark chocolate at a young age will ultimately help their teeth throughout their life since it will help steer them towards healthier candy choices.

How to Have a Teeth-Friendly Halloween

Your child probably won’t come back with a Halloween bag full of sugarless gum and dark chocolate. That’s the dream, right? Yet, it won’t happen. Instead, let them enjoy their Halloween candy. Most dentists will recommend that you let them have one or two good candy sessions and give the rest away. This way, they get to enjoy all the good stuff in their haul without eating on it every day for several weeks.

After any candy session, be sure to have your child brush their teeth thoroughly and they should have teeth that come out still perfectly healthy after the Halloween candy binge.