25 Oct Halloween Treats: Ranking the Best and Worst Candies According to Dentists
Halloween is just around the corner, and that means your children will soon bring home treat bags filled with candy. While you’re sorting through your kids stash to make sure it’s all properly wrapped (and picking out what you’re going to eat after they go to bed), take a look at what dentists consider the best and worst offenders in the candy world.
Everyone’s favorite sweet made the top of this “best of” list, go ahead and let out a cheer! Chocolate in general is considered a much better option for your teeth than other sweets because it washes off the teeth easier than other candy flavors. Some studies even indicate that chocolate could fight tooth decay more effectively than fluoride due to a compound contained in cocoa beans that helps harden tooth enamel. However, dark chocolate is the one most favored by dentists because it contains less sugar than milk chocolate.
Sugar-free Candies and Gum
Sugar feeds bacteria and upsets your mouth’s healthy pH and bacteria ratio. Sugarless candies or candies made with sugar substitutes such as stevia are considered better for your oral health, though consuming it regularly could lead to other health concerns. Go ahead and mix some of these treats into the candy you’re giving out this year. Your diabetic trick-or-treaters (and their parents) will thank you!
Candies with Nuts
Sometimes you feel like a nut… In addition to containing protein and fiber which are good for both your overall and dental health, nuts in candy help break up stickiness left over from candy, and they also work to break down the biofilm on teeth. Both the stickiness and biofilm can lead to tooth decay if left on your teeth. Candy bars made with dark chocolate and nuts are healthier than candies such as Paydays, which are made with milk chocolate and a considerably higher amount of sugar.
In the middle of our list, we have some bad news for the butterscotch and peppermint lovers. Breaking your teeth isn’t the only concern dentists have about hard candies. Hard candy stays in the mouth longer, leading to sugar seeping into your saliva and then washing over your teeth.
This Halloween favorite might seem like a healthier choice than other candy, but most popcorn balls are hard, sticky, and coated with sugar making them just as unhealthy for your kids as other sugary candies. Keep the floss handy with this treat.
Sticky, Gummy Candies
Sticky candies like Tootsie Rolls, Starbursts, and even dried fruit are among the worst candies for your teeth because they are harder to remove and enhance conditions for decay producing bacteria to form.
Much like sticky, gummy candies, sour candy is sticky and coated in sugar. Combine sticky and sweet with acidic, and you’ve got the ingredients to wreak havoc on your teeth’s enamel. The acid in sour candy softens your tooth enamel temporarily which means brushing your teeth immediately after eating sour candy can actually do more harm than good.
Enjoy Halloween with your children, but remember to make sure you and your children have access to plenty of healthier snacks such as apples, nuts, or mini carrots. These munchies help clean teeth and keep saliva flowing. These snacks paired with proper dental hygiene like brushing and flossing will keep you and your children smiling long after the Halloween sugar high has worn off.