By: Rosie Torres, R.D.H.
Even though Halloween might look a little different this year, there will still be plenty of ghosts, goblins, and goodies! But the sugar in your favorite treats can play some unwanted tricks on your teeth if you’re not careful. Why? The bacteria in your mouth are probably way more excited to feast on that Halloween candy than you are. They eat the sugar combined with any leftover food in your mouth, which creates acid. Over time, those acids can cause the enamel (the hard, outer shell of the tooth) to break down, forming a cavity. So, read on for the best and worst Halloween candy for your teeth…
These candies will keep your teeth looking “Fang-tastic!”
Chocolate is the best choice because it washes off the teeth easier than other types of candy. Even better if you like dark chocolate because it contains less sugar than milk chocolate.
Candy that is sweetened with stevia, for example, might be a healthier option, since it is sugar-free. Chewing on sugarless gum like Trident White can even help prevent dental decay by stimulating the saliva flow. Brands like Hershey’s and Russel Stover have some sugar-free candy options.
Candy with Nuts
Having a candy or candy bar with a lot of nuts in it can help reduce its stickiness. Nuts are also a source of protein and fiber, so they can slightly reduce the damage of the sweet and sticky ingredients of the candy. Nuts can also help to break up some of the bacterial biofilm on the teeth. Try to choose candy and candy bars with nuts that are also very low in sugar and contain dark chocolate.
These candies are too scary!
When choosing Halloween candy, remember…”Be picky if it’s sticky!” Gummy candies are difficult to remove from the teeth and the longer they linger, the more time those cavity-causing bacteria have to munch on the sugar. So just say “no” to caramels, Starburst, and fruit snacks.
Candies like Lollipops and Jolly Ranchers can actually break your teeth if you have a habit of chewing them (“Ouch!”) Also, they stay in the mouth for longer, so the sugar mixes with the saliva and creates an icky bacteria bath that’s constantly washing over your teeth.
Try to pass on the candy that makes you pucker, especially if they’re sticky and coated with extra sugar. These types of candies are very acidic, which can weaken tooth enamel and make them very susceptible to cavities. “Yikes!” So, if you have a choice between sour Skittles and regular, choose regular.
Have Your Candy and Eat it Too
Now that you know what Halloween candy to choose, don’t go “goblin” it up all at once! Enjoy it in moderation, try to eat it with meals or shortly after, make sure to drink plenty of water during and after snacking, and always floss and thoroughly brush your teeth before going to sleep. This way you won’t be haunted by sugary ghosts that stick around on your teeth long after Halloween is over. Now is also a great time to schedule your regular dental cleaning and exam, to make sure your teeth and gums look “boo-ti-ful” all year long. Your dedicated dental team at Gallery 57 Dental is always here to help protect your teeth from spooky decay. Have a safe and happy Halloween!