As we start to feel a chill in the air, notice leaves changing color and falling, we begin to anticipate the upcoming holiday season. As autumn approaches, many children all around the nation begin dreaming of the delicious treats they will collect by the sack-full this Halloween. To a child, Halloween is a wickedly wonderful day when treats are plentiful and bellies are full of sweets.
When it comes to Halloween candy or any treat for that matter, it’s important to know the truth about which type of candy is the best or worst for your teeth. If you are a parent of young children or you yourself are prone to cavities and frequent dental cleanings, take note as we explain the good, the bad and the ugly truth about Halloween candy.
Let’s start with the worst candies for your teeth. Ranking at the top of the list is an all time favorite, caramels. Treats that are sticky, chewing and oh so gooey like caramels, gummy bears, taffy, even dried fruit can easily get stuck in and on your teeth. Let’s face it, the stickier the candy, the worse it is for your teeth.
Candy corn is always a Halloween favorite, but this colorful treat is chocked full of sugar which produces acid that can eat away at your teeth. Another favorite are the “sour” versions of chewy candies, unfortunately sour candies have a high acid levels that damage tooth enamel.
Hard candies that you suck on and leave in your mouth for an extended period pose a problem for your teeth because of the sugar that coats your teeth from constant sucking. The other type of candy that causes dental dilemmas is jawbreakers. Jawbreakers may not actually break your jaw, but they can crack and break a tooth!
If you are sorting through the loot bag looking for the “good” candy to keep, you can pull out all of the sugar free hard candies and sugar free lollipops. Sugar free options actually increase saliva production which helps wash away bacteria in your mouth. Chocolate is another good type of candy, especially plain chocolate bars (milk, dark or white) that don’t have fillings like caramel, nuts or toffee. Chocolate melts quickly and doesn’t stick to your teeth as much as other sweet treats. Peanut butter cups also get a thumb up. Go ahead and hold onto sugar free gum, chewing sugar free gum can help clean your teeth by dislodging food and increase saliva production.
Now that you know which candies are dental tricks and which ones are dental treats, go have a fun and safe Halloween.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Michael Juban, Juban Cowen Dental Care