October 31st is finally here! Many kids and families celebrate harvest on this day, and it usually involves lots of sweets and sugars! Believe it or not, your family dentist may actually be in favor of kids and adults eating sweets. Below are some guidelines to follow from a dental perspective:
- If possible, avoid hard whole sugar candies. People usually like to leave these candies long term in the mouth, as the sugars from these candies can promote caries and cavities. The bacteria in the oral cavity metabolize the sugars, resulting in a release of lactic acid that can cause dental decay. A good alternative is to look for sugar free hard candies if possible.
- Chocolate is good for you! JAMA and ADA studies have shown that cocoa has excellent health benefits for the cardiovascular system, and for your teeth and oral health. Chocolate, which is derived from cocoa beans, contain antioxidants polyphenols, flavonoids, and tannins. Polyphenols actually inhibit bacteria effects, which can decrease bad breath and lower risk of tooth decay. Flavonoids have been shown to decrease rate of tooth decay. And tannins have been shown to prevent bacteria from adhering onto teeth. Dark chocolate is best, and try to choose chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa for optimal health and dental benefits.
- Chewing gum can help lower risk of cavities by promoting salivary flow. With a healthy and excess flow of saliva, it helps "wash" teeth of plaque and sugars. Watch out for gums that contain large amounts of sugars. Sugarless gum is a good alternative to consider.
From your local family Bellevue dentist,
Dr. Peter Chien