With Halloween quickly approaching, many children look forward to dressing up in their favorite costumes and most of all, getting to eat a bunch of candy! It’s always a fun time to go from neighborhood to neighborhood collecting as much candy as possible and then getting home to dump it all out and sort it by what you love and what you hate. While kids may have a personal preference on which candies are the best and the worst, at the end of the day candy is candy and it is bad for your teeth if you eat too much on a regular basis. We will explain which candy is the better choice for your teeth and which ones to avoid ensuring your child’s teeth remain healthy and strong this Halloween.
Why is candy bad for your teeth?
Candy is made of sugars that harmful bacteria in your mouth love to feed off of. So, when you eat candy, this causes the bacteria to then produce acids that will erode your teeth’s enamel. This is what leads to a cavity forming in your mouth and can get worse over time if left untreated. Therefore, it’s important to take care of your teeth and be able to choose the better candies to eat if you do choose to indulge this Halloween.
Best candy for your teeth
While it’s best to avoid candy altogether, there are some candies that are better to eat than others. These candies typically include chocolates and sugar-free candies. Chocolates, while high in sugar, are better than sticky candies for your teeth. Dark chocolate is an even better option as there is usually less sugar in dark chocolate and it has antioxidants. Below are the types of candy that are best to choose for your teeth:
• Chocolate, preferably dark
• Sugar-free gum
• Sugar-free lollipops/hard candies
Worst candy for your teeth
The types of candies that are worse than others are those that are chewy and sticky. This can include a wide range of candy including gummies, taffy, caramels, and more. Sticky candy like these can be especially harmful to your child’s teeth as the sugar will cling directly to a tooth’s surface. Also, these sticky candies can get stuck in your teeth and can be hard to remove. Popular candies that should be avoided or eaten in moderation include:
• Sour Patch Kids
• Tootsie Rolls
• Jolly Ranchers
• Gummy Worms
• Popcorn Balls
Michigan’s favorite Halloween candy
The state of Michigan enjoys Halloween candy a little too much and some kinds more than others. Topping off the list is Starburst selling a whopping 114,879 pounds in 2018. Following close behind is the beloved candy corn selling 106,295 pounds in 2018. The third most popular candy in the state is Skittles selling 86,221 pounds in 2018. Where’s the chocolate on this list though? Other surveys suggest that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups is a favorite candy across multiple states in the United States, but it seems like Michigan residents enjoy their non-chocolate candies.
How to minimize candy’s impact on your child’s teeth
To limit the negative effects of candy on your child’s teeth, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
• Have your children eat a good meal before going out trick-or-treating to decrease the temptation to over-indulge on candy.
• Stay away from sticky, hard candies that expose teeth to sugar for long periods of time.
• Have your child drink plenty of water to minimize the potential for tooth decay to occur.
• Be sure to have your child brush his/her teeth after deciding to eat a piece of candy to get rid of any sugar that is on the tooth’s surface.
• Limit the overall consumption of sour candies and gummies that may contain acidic ingredients that can break down the enamel on your teeth.
• Consider purchasing non-candy items to hand out to fellow trick-or-treaters in your neighborhood to promote healthy options.
While not all candies are created equally, there are some that are better than others to indulge in. Hopefully, you are now more informed about how to approach this Halloween with your children to make health-conscious decisions that will contribute to the integrity of your child’s teeth. A single night of indulging in candy won’t be harmful as long as your child is practicing good oral hygiene habits such as brushing their teeth twice per day. No need to completely cut out all candy, just make sure it’s eaten in moderation! If you want to check on your child’s oral health after indulging in Halloween candy, the experienced team at Cavanaugh Dental can help out!