With autumn comes the increased consumption of sugary treats and drinks, as the stores fill their shelves with our favorite fall candies and flavors (pumpkin spice, anyone?). While enjoying caramel apple lollipops all day and eating candy corn by the spoonful like cereal sounds like a tasty idea, it’s a terrible idea for your health and especially your teeth!
Halloween brings us even more candy, especially with trick-or-treating and other fall festivals and activities. Of course you want to indulge in a bit of candy to celebrate the season, but how can you do so while protecting your teeth?
Don’t get tricked. Let’s take a look at the top three worst types of Halloween candies for your teeth and some better alternatives.
According to the Academy of General Dentistry, sour candy is highly acidic and breaks down tooth enamel quickly. Enamel plays an important role for your teeth, protecting them during their day-to-day use like chewing, biting, crunching and grinding. Enamel also insulates teeth from potentially painful temperatures and chemicals. When enamel erodes, your teeth become more prone to cavities and tooth decay.
The AGD also mentions that saliva helps to restore the natural balance of acid in your mouth, but you need to wait at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth after consuming sour candies. If you don’t, brushing will only help spread the acid around your mouth, exposing more teeth to risk.
An article on Parenting magazine’s website lists taffy and candies filled with caramel, coconut or nuts as the worst kinds of candy for your teeth. These chewy, sticky candies stick in the grooves of your teeth, and the longer the sweet stays there, the longer bacteria feeds on it. This leads to the cavity-causing acids that adults and kids alike should avoid.
Avoid sticky, chewy candies this Halloween season, especially candies containing caramel, and your teeth (and dentist) will appreciate the gesture.
Lollipops, jawbreakers and other hard candies rank among the worst candies for your teeth. Hard candies require you to suck on the sweet for an extended period of time while it dissolves, providing a steady flow of sugar for oral bacteria to feed and thrive. The bacteria then create acids that destroy tooth enamel, leading to cavities.
So, maybe instead of sucking on the candy, you choose to bite it – however, this also causes issues. Especially in the case of the rock-hard jawbreakers, biting on hard candies can crack or chip your teeth. The only way around it? Forgo the hard candies this fall.
So, What Sweets to Eat?
Avoiding sour, sticky and sugary hard candies will likely be a challenge, but there are other tooth-friendly candies available to help you enjoy your Halloween.
If you must have a lollipop or other hard candy, find something sugar-free. This can help to stimulate saliva, which helps you avoid dry mouth. Dry mouth allows plaque to build up on teeth faster, increasing your risk for cavities, but sugar-free candies won’t help encourage bacteria growth. Another great option? Sugar-free gum. You can prevent cavities with this treat by dislodging food particles from your teeth and increasing saliva to neutralize your mouth acids.
If you need your chocolate fix, choose a solid chocolate with no sticky centers. Dark chocolate is an especially good option, as this kind is filled with antioxidants that are potentially good for the heart.
Keep your smile intact by choosing smart candies to indulge on this Halloween season! And don’t forget to trick-or-treat your teeth by scheduling your next appointment with Norman Dental today by calling 336-282-2120.