Halloween is just around the corner and statistics show that just over 25% of candy purchased in the United States each year is bought for Halloween. Between candy, costumes and staying up late with friends, it’s easy to see why Halloween is a favorite holiday for most kids. To help you sort through the trick-or-treating bag loot, we created a breakdown of the best and worst Halloween candy for your teeth.
How Sugar Affects Your Teeth
The bacteria in your mouth are probably even more excited to indulge on sugar than your child is. When the bacteria eat sugar from candy, starches, and carbohydrates, a weak acid is produced in your mouth. That same acid then carries on to destroy your teeth as much as possible by creating tooth decay and cavities. Don’t let the sugar from candy and other treats play unwanted tricks on your teeth.
Don’t let the sugar from candy and other treats play unwanted tricks on your teeth. Choosing the right type of tooth-friendly candy will have your teeth and gums grateful by Thanksgiving.
Chocolate is considered the best type of treat for your teeth, which is excellent because chocolate is also one of the more popular treats handed out on Halloween. Chocolate washes off of your teeth easier with saliva and water over other types of candy, and dark chocolate also has less sugar than milk chocolate, making it the best choice.
Hard candies and lollipops alike that are sugar-free stimulate saliva in your mouth which works to prevent dry mouth that leads to cavities. A dry mouth allows plaque to build up on teeth faster, leading to an increased risk of cavities.
Chewing sugar-free gum that contains Xylitol as an ingredient can actually prevent cavities as it not only dislodges food particles from between the teeth but also increases saliva. Neutralizing the acids of the mouth by stimulating your saliva production is your body’s natural defense against tooth decay and cavities.
So Damaging it’s Scary
As a general rule for candy, be picky if it’s sticky. Some of the worst sweets for your teeth are ones that are hard to remove and those that linger on the surfaces of your teeth long after they have been swallowed.
A popular favorite, hard candy comes in nearly every flavor and size imaginable. When letting your child eat hard candy, keep portions small as hard candy can crack their teeth also tends to stick around longer than other candy, exposing the teeth to sugar for longer. Extended contact with sugar leads to more cavities.
The worst treat at leaving your teeth susceptible to cavities more than any other type of candy is sour candy. Because sour candy contains a high amount of acid, it is not only the ingredient that gives the candy a sour content, but it is also what eats away the enamel of teeth, leaving them vulnerable to cavities.
Just like a piece of hard candy, sticky and gooey candies can quickly get stuck in tooth crevices, leaving them to linger in the mouth long after they have been swallowed. Sticky candy can be difficult to remove from the teeth, giving cavity-causing bacteria more time to eat away at your enamel.
While not technically candy, sugary-sweet treats like cookies, cake and other snacks all contain a high amount of sugar and carbohydrates which lead to tooth decay. Popcorn balls also fall under the bad list because kernels can get stuck in-between your teeth and they are also held together by sugar.
Keeping Cavities Away
It’s crucial that your children brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time to help keep cavities away. This is especially true during the fall season when sugary treats are around every corner you turn. Thoroughly brush and floss after eating candy to keep your child’s enamel strong and their mouth as healthy as possible. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Okamura if your child begins to experience any signs of tooth pain.