Did you know that just over 25% of candy purchased in America each year is bought at Halloween? For children, Halloween is all about dressing up with their friends, and bagging as much candy as they can get. But, how are those sweets affecting your child’s teeth? Today, we’ll look at some of the best – and worst – Halloween candy for teeth.
Hard candy is very popular, and comes in nearly every flavor and size imaginable. But, be vigilant when letting your child eat hard candy, because it can crack their teeth. Hard candy also tends to stick around longer than other candy, which exposes teeth to sugar for longer. Extended contact with sugar can lead to more cavities because sugar provides bad bacteria with the energy it needs to destroy enamel.
Like hard candy, sticky candy can get stuck in tooth crevices and stay around long after it’s been swallowed. Sticky candy is difficult to remove from teeth, and gives cavity-causing bacteria more time to eat away enamel.
Sour candy can leave teeth susceptible to cavities more so than any other candy. This is because sour candy contains a high amount of acid. In fact, the elevated acid content is what makes it so sour. The acidity can eat away the enamel of teeth, and leave them vulnerable to cavities.
Chocolate is a better sweet option this Halloween, since it washes away easier than other candy, and is less destructive to enamel. But, dark chocolate is the best type of chocolate for oral health because it contains less sugar than milk chocolate and can actually help keep cavities away! That’s because it contains a flavanoid called epicatechin. Epicatechin has shown to slow tooth decay and also reduces cholesterol, blood clots and clogged arteries. Dark chocolate also contains polyphenols, which are naturally occurring chemicals that limit bad oral that attacks your teeth. The polyphenols in dark chocolate also reduce bad breath!
Candy Bars with Nuts
Regular candy bars aren’t the best things for your teeth, and depending upon their ingredients, can be very sticky and damaging to teeth. This is why you should look for candy bars that have a lot of nuts in them: the nuts break up the sticky consistency, and leave sugar on teeth for far less time than candy bars without nuts. We like the KIND Bar with Almonds and Macadamia nuts as a tooth-friendly sweet treat. Just remember to have our kids brush their teeth after consuming them, because debris can get left in their mouth afterwards.
Gum Sweetened with Xylitol
Gum sweetened with Xylitol is a great treat to give away at Halloween, and can actually help young trick-or-treaters clean their teeth. Xylitol sweetened gum is sugarless, and stimulates saliva production which naturally cleans teeth of debris and leftover sugar.
Remember to Brush Twice Daily
It’s important that your children brush their teeth twice per day for two minutes at a time if you want to keep cavities away. This is especially important when consuming foods that contain high amounts of sugar. So, as your child hauls in bag of candy this Halloween, be sure that they thoroughly brush and floss after eating candy to keep their enamel strong and their mouth healthy. Schedule an appointment with our office if your child begins experiencing tooth pain this Halloween. We will thoroughly evaluate the state of their oral health, and provide a treatment plan that works for them. Have a happy and safe Halloween, and don’t forget to brush!