Your trick-or-treating dental guide!
While families and parents plan a safer trick-or-treating experience this year, let's find out which Halloween candies give our dentists the toughest time in the aftermath of the holiday!
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Not all candies are too bad for our teeth. According to dentists, candies that dissolve quickly in our mouth are the best. It gives less time for all those sugars to accumulate on the teeth. The bacteria in our mouth reacts with the sugar to create an acidic byproduct, which, in turn, can dissolve the tooth enamel and cause cavities.
The Worst Candies for Your Teeth
Candies that are very sticky, very sour, and take time to dissolve are the absolute worst! While moderate consumption of these treats may not be harmful, excessive intake can lead to an emergency dental visit!
Jolly Ranchers and jawbreakers are hard to chew, and they tend to be in our mouth for a longer period, giving more sugar exposure to the teeth. They are also known as the "sucking" candies, and biting them should be avoided.
"They can actually break your teeth if you're not careful," says ADA dentist Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty.
These include candies like gummy worms and gummy bears, Sour Patch Kids, and Lemonheads. They contain a high amount of both sugar and acid and are vicious for our teeth.
"Sour candies tend to be more acidic, which can weaken and damage the hard outer shell of your teeth known as enamel," says Dr. Gary Glassman, an endodontist in Toronto.
As the name suggests, these candies stick around in our mouth longer, giving more time for harmful bacteria to work upon our teeth. Candies like taffy, jujubes, Tootsie Rolls, and Milk Duds have a tendency to stick in our teeth crevices increasing the chance of tooth decay.
There is hardly any child who does not like a lollipop! However, the constant sucking of the lollipop for a long time is what makes the candy so harmful.
"Cavity-causing bacteria [have] a longer time to ruminate, increasing your risk of tooth decay," said Dr. Glassman.
The Best Candies for Your Teeth
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You read that right! Chocolate washes off from your teeth faster than other types of candy. It is also one of the most popular types of sweets, so it's a win-win! To be precise, dark chocolates (70% and above) are considered THE best for the teeth. Many studies suggest chocolate has a particular compound that hardens our tooth enamel. It also has antibacterial properties that fight plaque. Consider dark chocolate over milk chocolate, as it has less sugar and more cocoa beans.
As the name suggests, these candies have no sugar; instead, they are sweetened by Xylitol and Stevia. Xylitol has shown anti-cavity benefits also, making these candies a perfect choice for Halloween treats. Xylitol stimulates saliva production in the mouth, which helps in washing away any debris and remaining sugar! These candies are also most suitable for people with type 2 diabetes.
Candy with nuts
If your candy bars have lots of nuts, that can help reduce the candy's stickiness. Less-sticky candy means a lesser chance of getting cavities. Also, nuts are high in protein and fiber. Candy bars rich with nuts and dark chocolate can be the perfect choice for your young trick-or-treater!
Candies like Smarties dissolve faster in the mouth, thus giving less sugar exposure. The less time it sits on teeth, the better your oral health is.
Make a routine for brushing and flossing twice a day, especially half an hour after having meals or indulging in candy. As Halloween comes only once a year, a little indulgence to the sweet treats is not that harmful; just keep in mind that moderation is the key.
Have a safe and happy Halloween, and don't forget to brush!