What is more paradoxical than Halloween candy and your children’s oral health?
Halloween brings smiles and laughter and dressing up is a great way for your kids to express their creative side. However, all the sweet treats that come along with it are not ideal for your children’s teeth (or yours). What are the concerns with candy and the best candy options for Halloween?
We brought in a Smile Generation®-trusted Pediatric Dentist, Dr. Isabel Simpson at Every Kids Dentist & Orthodontics in Surprise, AZ to shed some light on the dilemma candy brings to our teeth and offer the best options.
“We know that sugar causes cavities. There are some better choices when it comes to eating candy and one important aspect to be mindful of is the ’stickiness’ of candy. Stay away from candy that is sticky, chewy or crunchy since those stick to your teeth and are harder to brush. For example, crackers are worse than bread because they stick to your teeth much more. Fresh fruit is better than dried fruit because it’s not as sticky and chewy. Hard candy, preferably sugar free is better since it won’t likely be sticky and can be brushed or rinsed easier. Try not to chew on hard handy as it’s a rough on your teeth. Most importantly, remember to brush at least twice per day and to floss, but especially after you’ve eaten candy to remove the plaque that sticks to your teeth after eating sugar."
Best Options For Halloween Candy (ranked in order for your convenience):
- Good – Sugar Free Gum is a Halloween winner since it helps the mouth produce more saliva, which has a cleansing effect on the teeth. Let’s hear it for spit!
- Not So Bad- Chocolate is easy to wash off the teeth; especially dark chocolate since it has less sugar. (Did anyone need another reason to love chocolate? You’re welcome!)
- Pretty Bad: Hard Candy is hard on the teeth since it’s well, hard- and definitely not worth breaking a tooth on. If you must enjoy the occasional hard candy, resist the urge to bite and be sure to brush after.
- Worst: Sour Candy is acidic and can damage tooth enamel—the hardest and most highly mineralized substance in your body. Says a lot for sour candy, doesn’t it?
While these are some of the best options to navigate your way through eating candy during the Halloween season, it’s important to brush and floss your teeth soon after consuming candy or any food with sugar to limit the bacteria that feeds on sugars. Small changes make big strides in your oral health and we hope these options offer a tangible way to enjoy some sweets while sharing smiles with your family this Halloween.