Halloween Candy and Overall Health

Halloween Candy and Oral Health

Halloween candy can be appealing to children and adults alike, and it’s hard to resist sampling the sweets you give out to kids or that your children bring home from trick or treating. Although many might wish that the calories and sugar of candy somehow didn’t count because it’s Halloween, there are some very good reasons to limit your intake of it or avoid it altogether.

Cavities

Almost everyone is told at some point that eating sweets like candy will rot their teeth, but it’s not just sugar that’s the culprit. Halloween candy and other sweets contain carbohydrates, and when that carbohydrate debris remains on the teeth after eating, bacteria in the mouth feed off it. Carbohydrate debris can also be caused by healthier foods including fruits, vegetables and whole grains, so it’s important to remove that debris by brushing or rinsing as soon as possible. When oral bacteria digest the carbohydrates, it produces an acid that forms plaque when combined with saliva. Plaque is what leads to tooth decay, and if you don’t remove it with brushing, it can erode tooth enamel and create tiny holes in tooth surfaces, which can lead to cavities. Although plaque begins to form after any meal no matter what you eat, hard, sticky candy can become stuck in the crevices and grooves of your teeth and cause dental issues. To help avoid the temptation of eating Halloween candy, chew on sugar-free gum or a healthy snack. Limit your children’s daily intake of Halloween candy and encourage them to brush and floss well after eating.

High calories, low/no nutrients

Halloween candy and other sweets are high in calories and even eating a few candy bars can add unwanted calories to your daily intake. The more calories you consume, the more likely you are to gain weight if you don’t burn them off. Almost half the sugar humans consume remains stored in the body as fat. It’s important to remember that the “fun size” candy bars on Halloween may be small, but eating more than one can still pack a punch of extra calories and unhealthy sugar. Consuming too much candy also reduces your nutrient intake because it contains no vitamins and barely, if any, minerals, so you’re filling up on food that doesn’t contribute to your daily nutrition requirements. Eating a lot of sugar also uses up nutrients when your body digests sugar, and this can lead to nutrient deficiency.

Habit-forming

Although craving sugar isn’t an actual addiction, when you consume too much sugar (as often happens on Halloween), it can start a vicious cycle that’s challenging to break. The human brain can see sugar as a reward, which is one reason you keep craving it and when you consume more sugar, you reinforce that reward mindset and create a bad habit. The sugar in a candy bar is a simple carbohydrate that turns into glucose quickly in your bloodstream, spiking your sugar levels and giving you a quick high. Unfortunately, to move that sugar through your system, the pancreas creates the hormone insulin, which can cause your blood sugar level to drop suddenly. That drop can make your feel tired, shaky and craving more sweets for a high. To avoid these sugar-induced highs and lows, consume healthier sweets such as fruit or proteins such as eggs and lean meats, so you’re not tempted by Halloween candy.

Keep your smile bright and healthy post-Halloween and every day by contacting Chianese Dental to set up an exam and ask about our cosmetic dentistry services.

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