Everyone knows that sugar is bad for your teeth, but not many of us can resist indulging in a sweet treat every now and again. And for kids, the temptation is never worse than at Halloween. A bag full of free candy, just for putting on a costume? Of course they’re going to have some!
Breaking Down Halloween Candy, From Best to Worst (For Your Teeth)
While it’s important to try and limit the damage the holiday can do to your kids’ teeth, that doesn’t mean they have to forego all the goodies they bring home from trick-or-treating—it just means you need to help them be choosy candy consumers. After all, some sweets are much more damaging to teeth than others.
Here are Dr. Eye’s suggestions for the best and worst types of candy for dental health this Halloween.
The Best Types of Halloween Candy:
If you must eat candy, dark chocolate is the best you can choose in terms of your dental (and overall) health. It has less sugar than milk chocolate and is easier to clean off of your teeth. Plus, some studies show that a compound in chocolate can actually help to harden enamel and fight cavities and plaque.
Chewing gum promotes saliva production, which keeps your mouth hydrated and helps wash away acid and food particles. Just make sure you choose a sugarless variety so you don’t cancel out the benefits.
Like chewing gum, sucking on a lollipop or other hard candy helps your mouth produce more saliva. Candy sweetened with xylitol instead of sugar also has the added benefits of helping your body absorb calcium and reducing the number of cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth.
The Not-So-Bad Halloween Candy
Candy Bars with Nuts
Fillings often found in candy bars, like caramel and nougat, are sticky, which isn’t great for your teeth since they hang around far longer after you eat them. But nuts can help to break up these sticky foods and get them off your teeth faster.
While it’s not as good for you as dark chocolate, milk chocolate is still better than a lot of other Halloween candy. It’s not sticky and contains some calcium, which is good for your teeth.
The Worst Kinds of Halloween Candy
Taffy and Gummies
Any candy that’s sticky is going to stay in contact with your teeth for much longer, and the longer it’s there, the more damage it can do. Try to stay away from taffy, gummies, caramel and other sticky treats.
Acid wears away your enamel, and sour candy is usually pretty acidic.
Hard Candy and Lollipops
If they’re not sugar free, hard candy and lollipops are particularly bad for your teeth because they’re usually in your mouth the longest. Plus, if you bite down too hard they can actually break your teeth.
So What is the Bottom Line For Halloween Candy?
Even if you don’t have kids, everyone is probably going to eat something sweet on Halloween. As long as you practice moderation, it doesn’t have to be awful for your oral health. Use this list to choose the types of candy that do the least damage, and check out our other post for 10 more tips on a mouth-healthy Halloween.
What’s your favorite Halloween candy? Let us know in the comments section below!