October means Halloween and Halloween means candy. The kind of candy you eat can be the difference between a yummy treat and a dental problem. You can still enjoy everything the spookiest season promises if you know how to make smart choices to protect your teeth from damage and decay. Remember, just because you’re a grown-up doesn’t mean you’re immune to the havoc that too much candy-eating can cause. Kids and adults face the same oral health threats from all those delicious, tempting Halloween sweets.
The Worst Halloween Candy for Your Teeth
You may think you’re safe if you just stick to one kind of Halloween candy and don’t overindulge in all different types of sugary snacks. It’s not necessarily the kind of sugar, but the length of exposure to it that cause problems.
Here are the Halloween candies it is wise to avoid:
- Chewy candies: Caramel, taffy, candy apples, and gummy candies are sticky. So sticky that they take root on your enamel, especially in between your teeth, and are reluctant to let go. If you don’t clean out the gunk as soon as possible, it can sit there on your teeth and the sugars will eat away at your enamel. Brush and floss thoroughly and often if you just can’t stay away from the chewy sweets. Be careful too if you have fillings, crowns, or other restorations – the strongest taffy could rip those babies right out.
- Hard candies: Hard candies are big favorites because they last for a long time. Even though it may be a delight to have the treat extended, this also means that you’re exposed to a lengthy sugar bath. A lollipop, jawbreaker, or butterscotch that is bumping around in your mouth, minute after minute can lead to decay, especially if you have developed a habit of sucking on pieces of hard candy throughout the day without cleaning your teeth afterward. Biting down on a hard candy is also a threat. One wrong bite could lead to broken teeth or damaged restorations.
The Best Halloween Candy for Your Teeth
There is one candy that poses the least amount of threats to oral health – pure chocolate. Soft and quick to melt, chocolate does not linger on your tooth enamel. That means you’re less likely to be stuck with food particles between your teeth.
It’s still important to watch the amount of chocolate that you eat and, at the very least, rinse your teeth with water after eating if you don’t have time to brush and floss. Be careful too of chocolates that come with extras – like nuts, nougats, or caramel – and could cling to your enamel. Soft peanut butter cups or peppermint patties will give you double flavor without doing damage to your teeth.
Take Care of Your Oral Health at Halloween
Besides choosing the right kinds of candy to protect your teeth, there are also steps you can take to keep your oral health intact, like eating all your candy at one time instead of snacking all day and creating a near-constant sugar bath. Noshing on your sweets after a meal is also smart because the saliva is already flowing and will wash your teeth off more thoroughly.
And, of course, brush and floss, especially if you know you have gunk stuck between your teeth and just can’t get it to budge with the help of your tongue, and see your Arlington dentist for your regular check-ups and exams.
Contact Dr. Alana Macalik to schedule your next appointment.