Willy Wonka said it best. Now that I have your attention, with Halloween just around the corner, we want to ensure that your smiles are protected and looked after. Any of us, myself included, may take part in the festivities, indulge in some candy, chocolate or perhaps something a little more savoury like chips or pretzels. Some of us may even enjoy a glass of wine or two or three… (no judgement) while the kids ‘Trick or Treat’ away, all in the spirit of Hallows Eve.
But did you know that all those carbohydrates, acids and sugars can cause the pH levels in the mouth to decrease to 5.5 or lower from the optimal 7, and actually harm your teeth and increase your risk of cavities?
While it’s important to take part in the festivities and enjoy life’s pleasures in moderation, it’s equally as important to protect our teeth and gums from nasty bacteria that can cause tooth decay, bad breath and gum disease. Not to mention our wallets from costly and (occasionally) avoidable dental procedures by seeking optimal preventative measures.
Now, I’m not trying to convince you to give up everything you love, I’m just here to give you some ‘Tips and Tricks’ to help you enjoy the foods and beverages you love while protecting your teeth and smiles.
‘Tips and Tricks’ to help protect your teeth and mouth from acids:
1. After having a treat, try drinking tap water to help rinse your mouth and stimulate saliva production to help lower your mouth’s acid levels.
2. Have your treat with your meals to help minimize the amount of acidic challenges you introduce to your mouth.
3. Eating a piece of cheese after your treat will also help clear food particles and stimulate saliva production to help protect your teeth from acids. The calcium and phosphorus will help neutralize acid levels in your mouth and even help remineralize tooth enamel. Perhaps try to pair your favourite wines/cocktails with your favourite cheese.
4. Enjoy a piece of raw broccoli, celery, cucumber, lettuce or pepper (alkaline foods) or try sucking on sugar-free candy containing xylitol (a more natural sugar substitute) or chewing a piece of sugar-free gum containing xylitol after your favourite treat/beverage to help stimulate saliva production and neutralize your mouth’s pH levels.
5. Floss and brush 30 minutes after your snack or beverage to remove harmful bacteria and debris.
6. Prevention is key. So in addition to daily flossing, brushing and rinsing, visit your dental hygienist and dentist regularly for your cleanings and checkups. Allow trained dental health care professionals to help you look after your oral and overall health care needs. Prevention is not expensive but neglect can be.
Hope your family can benefit from these simple daily ‘Tips and Tricks’ to help protect your teeth and smiles. For more information or tips, consult your dental healthcare professional. Happy Halloween!
-Mona HajiHashemi, RDH.
Owner of Mona Lisa Smiles in Stouffville