Halloween is just around the corner, which means you and your child are likely about to eat a whole lot more candy than usual. While indulging in sweets every once in a while is not going to make your teeth fall out overnight, Halloween allows for quite the slippery slope. Instead of succumbing to the sugar rush, taking note of the best and worst candies for your teeth this year can make a difference come 2019.
To learn which candy is safer than others from a dentist in Mankato, keep reading!
Chocolate: An Ideal Option for Teeth?
It may sound surprising, but chocolate is actually one of the best options when it comes to Halloween candy. Not only is it immensely popular with children and adults alike, but it is one of the easiest substances to rub off of teeth. As your child eats the occasional piece of chocolate while trick-or-treating, have them wash off residual chocolate by drinking water or by chewing a piece of sugar-free gum. These simple additions to their holiday can make a big difference.
Furthermore, some varieties of chocolate contain less sugar and more cacao than others. For example, dark chocolate is a great option if you are an adult trying to remain conscious about your teeth during the spooky season. However, its higher bitterness may not be enjoyable for your child or trick-or-treaters, so keep this in mind.
Sticky, Gummy, Hard and Sour: The Worst Culprits
When it comes to cavity production, there are three traits to consider about the candy you are eating or handing out. These include the stickiness, the toughness and the ingredients that make it worse than your average candy.
Let us start with sticky and gummy candies. These may include caramel, taffy, jelly beans, or other gelatin-based chewable sweets. Since these candies are more prone to stick to and stay on teeth, they allow cavity-causing bacteria to work longer and more effectively. Thorough brushing and flossing is needed after eating these types of candies.
Next is hard candy, which include lollipops and artificially-flavored treats like Jolly Ranchers or Lifesavers. Not only are these meant to be sucked on for long periods of time, but also chewed after they have become thin enough to do so. Longer exposure to sugar-filled hard candy means a significantly higher risk of cavities and cracked teeth.
Finally, sour candy contains ingredients that are incredibly acidic, which only compound the damage already done by the sugar itself. Anything labeled “sour” should be avoided at all costs.
Popcorn Balls: The Outlier
Your child may come back to you with a bag of popcorn, sometimes in the sweeter variety, also known as caramel corn. If your child intends on eating this, make sure you have plenty of floss and new toothbrushes at home; popcorn has the potential to be hard, sticky, sugary and easily get stuck in between teeth.
It is important to snack smart, especially during Halloween. Schedule an appointment today to make sure your child’s mouth is healthy after the holiday!
About Dr. Kalina
Dr. James J. Kalina earned his DDS degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. As a father of three, he understands the importance of keeping young mouths clean and teaching valuable advice on at-home care. To learn more about his practice, you can contact him through his website.