Holidays are usually quite bad for your teeth. Most holidays involve feasts and eating a ton of food, which is rarely followed by brushing, as the family is together and one wishes to (or is forced to) enjoy the company of loved ones and relatives. This leaves more food detritus, and holidays also involve sweets, cakes, and special foods that are most often sweet. alcohol is also consumed in some cultures during celebrations, which is also not particularly good for the mouth. In many other cases, like during the Lenten fast or Ramadan, fasting is involved, which is actually not bad for you, but frequently means the loss of minerals and nutrients because they are used up by the bones and teeth, not to mention that the saliva becomes more acidic, and there is less of it, which are both bad news for tooth enamel.
But few holidays are as bad for your teeth as Halloween. Here’s why.
Sugary sweets are bad for teeth because they lead to a proliferation of bacteria in the mouth. This creates an acidic environment in which the tooth enamel is eroded and eventually cavities are formed. What’s worse, the best candy is always gooey and chewy, and this means that existing cavities can become filled with the stuff, leading to more bacteria and more decay, and sticky candy can also get in cracks and hard to reach places.
Many costumes involve painting the teeth, usually with fake blood, which is made of corn syrup, which is incredibly bad for teeth. Other paints, like black or green use corn syrup as well, and many additives, like the artificial blue coloring (blue curacao) are also destructive because they create a layer of gunk on your teeth that can lead to an increase in tartar and plaque, which bacteria live in.
A word to the wise
Of course, none of this means that you shouldn’t eat candy or paint your kids teeth green this Halloween. It simply means that when and if you do, you should be aware that certain measures need to be taken. After eating candy, it is absolutely necessary to brush and floss before going to bed, and mouthwash should also be used for grown ups and bigger kids. Also make sure to rinse after eating candy, as the water removes the biofilm that contains the bacteria, and dilutes the amount of sugar in the mouth. If you are using paint, make sure that all of the paint is removed form the teeth, on both the buccal and the lingual sides, and scrub more than once if the paint is persistent, but also make sure to be gentle, as vigorous brushing can damage the enamel on teeth.