With Halloween rapidly approaching, it’s time, once again, to think about the kind of candy you’ll be handing out, the kind of candy you’ll be stealing from your children, and the kind of candy you’ll want to avoid in both situations. Remember, eating candy, while not ideal for your teeth, is not something you have to avoid entirely for optimal oral health. However, choosing the right kinds of candy (and avoiding the most damaging) is essential for the long-term health and beauty of your smile.
So, what are the worst types of candy you can eat on Halloween?
1.Gummy and chewy candy. Gummy bears, gummy worms, taffy, and similar treats can get stuck in between the cusps of teeth where their lingering presence allows the slow release of sugar. What’s more, these sticky treats may be strong enough to pull loose dental fillings and other restorations, making them an especially bad idea for people whose teeth have been treated for trauma or decay.
2.Caramels and sticky candy. Like chewy candy, sticky sweets can damage, loosen, or remove restorations. Many of these treats are even strong enough to damage dental bridges and to loosen crowns placed over dental implants.
3.Hard candy. Not only can hard candy, when bit, chip, crack or break teeth, when allowed to dissolve, the sugars in these candies stay in contact with teeth for extended periods of time, allowing acid erosion and decay to take hold.
4.Citrus and sour candy. Adding acid to sugar doubles the impact citrus and sour candies have on the teeth. Because many of these candies are also gummies, that impact is extended, making these candies among the worst offenders for tooth decay and enamel erosion.
5.“Healthy candy.” That’s right, dried fruits, fruit leather, organic gummies, and similarly marketed candy alternatives are just as bad as their competitors. Sugar and acid are present in these sticky candies just like in the others. Worse yet, things like “naturally sweetened” and “sweetened with fruit juice” are meaningless marketing terms that can confuse and mislead consumers into thinking they’re making smarter candy choices. Here’s the bottom line: sugar is sugar. Your teeth do not differentiate between fruit sugar, honey, cane sugar, and high fructose corn syrup. All of it damages teeth in the same way, at the same rate.
Chocolates and non-sticky candies are the best bet at Halloween, but how and when you eat them will play a role in your oral health. Choose one time daily to indulge rather than spreading consumption out over the course of the day. And make sure you brush and floss after eating candy to remove any remaining sugars and acids from the teeth – but wait for at least 20 minutes after eating candy to allow your saliva to remove some of the acids and reharden your enamel.
Should you eat candy at Halloween? That’s a personal decision. If you choose to, do it smart, avoid the biggest problem candies, and be mindful of changes in tooth sensitivity or restoration security. If you end up with a dental emergency get in touch with the Cherry Creek dentist at DeWitt Dental Associates right away. And above all else, have a safe, fun and enjoyable Halloween.
If you are overdue for a dental cleaning and examination, please call our Cherry Creek office at 303-321-5656 today. We welcome patients from Littleton, Englewood, Highlands Ranch, and all Metro Denver communities and suburbs.