The Best & Worst Halloween Candy for Your Teeth
The Best Okayest & Worst Halloween Candy for Your Teeth
We had to alter the title because there is no candy that is actually good for your teeth. Some are just okay, and some are very bad. As you sort through your kids’ trick or treat stash, keep these things in mind.
Why is Candy Bad for Teeth?
Most candy is full of sugar, which is why kids (and some adults with a sweet tooth) love it. The refined sugars in candy are the simplest food source for oral bacteria that cause cavities. These bacteria ingest (eat) the sugar and produce (poop) acid. This acid has the power to soften and weaken enamel, allowing the bacteria to penetrate into the tooth and start a cavity.
The. more sugar you feed these bacteria, the more acid they produce. The more acid they produce,, the more likely you are to get cavities.
The problem with a huge stash of Halloween candy is that it tempts you to eat small pieces of candy throughout the day, which leads to a steady production of this cavity-causing acid. This is similar to the dangers of sipping on sugary or acidic drinks throughout the day. The more time that you expose your teeth to sugar and acid, the higher risk you are for cavities.
Which Candy is Worst?
The candy that is worst for your teeth is the kind that has a sticky or gummy texture. This includes gummy bears, sour patch kids, Starburst, taffy, and anything else that will readily adhere to the teeth. As you chew this type of candy, it sticks to and fills in the deep grooves in the biting surfaces of your teeth. The stickiness makes it difficult to remove with a toothbrush. You almost need a dental instrument to remove these candies from your teeth.
And let’s face it: aside from playing with the “stuck” candy with your tongue, you really don’t make much effort to remove it. You know your kids don’t even attempt to clean it out of their teeth. So this sugar-packed stickiness stays on the teeth for up to a few hours, providing as much sugar as the bacteria can eat.
Another type of candy that increases cavity risk is any hard candy that you keep in your mouth for an extended period of time.. Peppermints and other hard candies are just no good. Either you suck on them for twenty minutes, keeping the teeth constantly bathed in sugar, or you chew them up, which puts you at risk for cracking your teeth. Neither option is good for your teeth!
Which Candy is Kind of Okay?
Candies containing chocolate and peanut butter are okay for your teeth. The reason is that in addition to sugar, they also contain some fat and protein. This is a better balance for your teeth and provides a minimal amount of protection for your teeth. Candy bars that contain peanuts (for those who can have peanuts safely) are even better. Nuts are a great snack for your teeth.
The next time you’re shopping for candy, take a minute to look at the sugar content of the various chocolate bars. Pick one that is low in sugar and high in fat and protein for the best teeth-healthy snack.
What Halloween Treats are a Great Alternative to Candy?
We know . . . no one wants to be the dorky house handing out apples and toothbrushes on Halloween (although we totally endorse both of those treats!). Consider mixing up your trick or treat basket with some alternative treats in addition to some good chocolate. We have found that kids really get excited about these options:
- Packs of sugar-free gum (Bonus if it contains xylitol!)
- Small toys
- Collectible cards that are currently trending (we have no idea what those might be, but we’ll let you do your own research so that this blog will remain timelessly applicable)
- Small craft kits
- Hot Wheels cars and motorcycles
I’ve Already Binged on Halloween Candy. Now What?
In order to reduce your cavity risk from eating lots of candy, you need to make sure you keep your teeth as clean as possible. Because those bad, cavity-causing bacteria live in dental plaque, you can fight them by removing plaque. This means brushing with the right technique twice a day. We recommend brushing your teeth after breakfast as you start your day, and before bedtime so the bacteria aren’t working overnight.
It also means flossing every single night. Brushing alone cannot remove all of the plaque from your teeth because your toothbrush bristles do not reach between the teeth. The only way you can ensure the best plaque removal is by brushing and flossing with the proper technique on a consistent basis.
In addition to having great home care, you should make sure you stay on track with consistent dental visits.. Dr. Ann and Dr. Lauren will assess your personal risk for cavities at each appointment and give you recommendations for preventing cavities.
More Questions about Halloween Candy and Cavity Risk?
Call Designer Smiles today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ann and Dr. Lauren.