Halloween is right around the corner and for those of us in the dental field, all we can envision is the sticky sugary candy and the effects on your children’s teeth. You might consider this holiday a dentist’s worst nightmare, but we are here to help you make the best choices when it comes to candy.
While we would like to argue to completely refrain from consuming candy we know that kids will be kids and will indulge in sweet treats. Therefore, we have created a list of the best and the worst candy for Halloween.
Any type of candy that has a sticky texture is going to be the worst choice when it comes to your smile. This includes things like taffy, chewy caramels, jelly beans, gummies, etc. Sticky candies do exactly what they sound like, they stick to your teeth and can significantly increase the risk of tooth decay. Remember that bacteria cause tooth decay and those bacteria love sugar. The longer the sugar stays on the teeth the more opportunity bacteria get to eat it and cause decay.
Any long-lasting candy, like suckers, allows sugar to remain on the teeth for longer periods which increases the risk of decay. The faster the candy leaves your mouth the better it will be for your teeth.
Sour candies are highly acidic and can weaken and destroy tooth enamel quite quickly. Not only are sour candies acidic, but most of the time they are sticky as well. This makes sour sticky candy the absolute worst choice when it comes to your teeth.
Chocolate is normally consumed quickly and easily can be washed away by drinking water after eating. Chocolate with nuts in it can also help scrub away some of the sugars from lingering on the teeth.
Dark chocolate is an even better choice as it is made from cocoa beans and generally is made with less added sugar. Additionally, the compounds in cocoa beans can help harden enamel and fight bacteria and plaque.
Sugar-free gum is by far our favorite choice to hand out this Halloween! Chewing sugar-free gum actually helps remove sugars from the teeth. Chewing gum also increases saliva production, which serves to “rinse” bacteria from the teeth.
Keeping a Healthy Smile During Halloween
When in doubt let your children have their candy, but avoid letting them munch on it all day. Give it to them as a treat after dinner and make sure they drink a glass of water after consuming it. Also, remember to have them brush and floss!