October is approaching, and with it comes a slew of Halloween candies! Trick-or-treating is a time-honored tradition and is enjoyed by children and adults alike. In Lafayette, the official trick-or-treat hours are from 6 to 8 pm on October 31st.
All of that candy can have negative side effects on your dental health. Lafayette, Louisiana Dentist Dr. Timothy Chauvin can tell you, candy consumed in large amounts can contribute to cavities. Luckily, research has found a candy that will not contribute to cavities. In fact, this candy can prevent cavities!
Dr. Chauvin states that Xylitol, a chemical used as a sugar substitute in sugar-free gums and candies, can inhibit the growth of bacteria in the mouth. The chemical is incredibly effective at preventing the bacteria that causes cavities, Streptococcus mutans. Best consumed after a meal or drink, the candy will stimulate saliva production, dislodge food particles still in the mouth, neutralize any remaining acids, and remineralize teeth. While all of that is going on, the xylitol prevents bacteria from spreading further. Regular use of sugar-free candies containing xylitol can actually provide long-term protection against cavities as well.
The difference between sugar-free and regular gum is, while producing extra saliva and dislodging food particles, the sugar provides a food source for bacteria, and should be avoided.
It is important to note that not all of these gums and candies have xylitol in them, so make sure to check the ingredients. Sugar-free gums produced by Trident, Orbit and Ice Breakers contain xylitol.