Healthy Beginnings

Sweet Treats and Healthy Teeth: Tricks, Treats and Tips to Maintain a Healthy Mouth this Fall

gabrielleirvin-sweettreats

Ahhh, autumn – the season that brings mild, sweater-friendly weather, bright hues of gold and red, and sweet cinnamon-sprinkled treats. October marks the start to the holiday season, a time to celebrate family, friends and, of course, food. While cinnamon-infused pumpkin pies and honey-glazed hams may be on the menu for your upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings, candy (and lots of it) will most likely be a hefty side to your Halloween meal.

Americans buy 90 million pounds of chocolate during the week of Halloween. The majority of U.S. households turn
to chocolate when treating trick-or-treaters, with M&Ms, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Snickers leading the way. Nutritionally and dentally speaking, America’s candy obsession is spooky scary. For example, two fun-sized Snickers count as a serving size, and they contain 160 calories (8 percent of the standard daily allotment of 2,000 calories) and 3 grams of saturated fat (15 percent of the daily limit of 20 grams).

The increased consumption of sweet treats and processed foods may not only make you add another notch to your belt, it may also add another cavity to your molar. Practice these oral health habits to ensure that you maintain
a healthy mouth – and body – this Halloween.

Choose candy carefully: Avoid hard candy and other sweets that stay in your mouth for a long time. The length of time sugary food is in your mouth can subject teeth to an increased risk for tooth decay.

Avoid sticky candies: Sticky candies cling to your teeth. The stickier candies, like taffy and gummies, take longer to get washed away by saliva, increasing the risk for tooth decay.

Brush twice a day: Brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes. Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed.

Floss your teeth: Floss your teeth once a day. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.

The importance of oral hygiene extends beyond the mouth, as the health of your teeth and gums can
affect your body’s overall health. Poor oral health might contribute to various diseases including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and even diabetes. Therefore, be cognizant of the sweet treats you consume this season, and work to maintain a healthy diet and dental routine.

Make your own organic, all-natural candy this Halloween!

Devilishly Delicious Dark Chocolate-Dipped Fruit

  • Finely chop a 4-ounce bar of organic dark chocolate.
  • Fill the bottom half of a double boiler with water and bring the water to a simmer. Place the chocolate in the top half of the boiler and place over the simmering water. Be careful that the water doesn’t boil or splash into the chocolate, because any moisture will cause it to seize. 
Stir when the chocolate turns glossy and soft to the touch.
  • Dip organic dried mango, papaya, apricot, pomegranate,
pineapple, cranberries or your favorite dried fruit into the melted chocolate.
  • Place chocolate-covered fruits on a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill until set, about 10 minutes.
  • Store in a cool area and share with friends and family.

References:

  1. http://www.livestrong.com/blog/scary-truth-about-halloween- infographic/
  2. http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/halloween-candy-20101029716
  3. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/h/halloween-tips
  4. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/ in-depth/dental/art-20047475?pg=2