Weekly Checkup: Halloween Candy

Halloween candy does not just have to be for little kids – neither do the oral hygiene problems that go along with the teeth rotting treats.

Susan Haney, associate director of Student Health Service, said that the worst type of candy to eat is the kind that adheres to the teeth. These candies typically contain caramel, nougat or any other gooey substance.

The sugar in these candies sticks to the teeth and eventually turns the natural bacteria inside the mouth into acid, which causes the teeth to decay.

To minimize the negative effects of candy, Haney suggested opting for candy that is not sticky, such as a regular chocolate bar. Also, try and eat candy immediately following a meal because one is more likely to brush their teeth after a meal than after consuming a pillowcase full of Halloween candy.

According to WebMD.com, brushing is important because it removes a layer of plaque, a film of bacteria that can produce acid when it comes in contact with food. These acids can lead to cavities the Web site says, so it is important to brush at least twice a day with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste on the head of a soft toothbrush.

Haney said flossing is another important way to avoid plaque problems caused by eating candy.

According to WebMD.com, flossing should be done once a day to remove the food and plaque from areas the toothbrush can not reach. This is important because if left in the teeth the leftover candy corn and plaque will turn into tartar that only the dentist can remove.

“Weekly check up” is a regular feature in the Life section. If you have a health topic you want to know more about, e-mail features@gwhatchet.com.

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