At Overland Park Dentistry, we want you to enjoy Halloween, including the candy that accompanies it. However, there are some candies that are worse than others for your teeth (particularly if you’re an adult with fillings, crowns, inlays or other expensive and vulnerable dental work in your mouth). In order to avoid dental damage this Halloween, follow these simple tips from Overland Park Dentistry:
Tips for Adults
We know you’re only human and will fall prey to your favorites, but stay away from sticky candy if you can. If you do eat something sticky or chewy, resist the urge to chew and try to suck on the candy instead. As an added bonus, the candy will last longer in your mouth and you’ll keep your teeth intact!
Top 10 Worst Candy for Your Teeth
Below is a list of the most dangerous candy for your teeth based on sugar content and sticky consistency:
- Gummy Bears/Fruit Snacks
- Candy Corn
- Caramel Apple Pops
- Sour Patch Kids
- Now and Later
- Jaw Breakers
- Jolly Rancher
- Milk Duds
- Tootsie Rolls
- Bit O’ Honey
Also, look out for hard candy and candy with nuts. Nuts and hard candy can crack a tooth or a filling while you’re chewing them. Plus, nuts will commonly get stuck in the grooves and pits of your teeth too. Sour candy has its own issues as well. On average, sour candies are more acidic than sweet candies. The acidity, combined with the sugar content, creates a very acidic environment in your mouth, which can permanently damage your enamel if you’re not careful. Your saliva will naturally return the pH in your mouth to neutral after eating these candies, but with sour candy it may take longer than the standard 30 minutes, leaving your teeth exposed to acid erosion.
Related Read: How to Choose a Great Dentist in Overland Park
Tips for Kids
For kids, it’s the amount of sugar in candy, and how long it’s left on their teeth that will cause problems. Sticky candy like caramels, hard candy, and taffy, are the worst for sticking to teeth for long periods of time. This allows the bacteria in your mouth to feed on the sugar that is stuck in your teeth for longer periods of time producing more acid. Both bacteria and acid weaken your teeth and may cause cavities.
The best advice, from a dental perspective, is to have the kids brush as soon as they are done eating the candy. If brushing isn’t convenient, at least rinsing with water or eating something like an apple to help physically remove some of the sticky candy residue is better than nothing. TIP-if your children are under five years old, don’t rely on them to brush their teeth thoroughly. They will need help to do a proper job of removing sticky candy.
Related Read: Dental Sealants – What Are They, and Do You Need Them?
Fun Halloween Candy Alternatives
- While getting candy is fun, there’s no doubt that your kids (and all of the other trick-or-treaters) will receive plenty of it. Why not opt for more tooth-friendly candies, or something other than candy? Some great alternatives are sugar-free lollipops and hard candy, sugar-free gum, and even plain chocolate like Hershey’s Kisses, which wash away from teeth with normal saliva production.
- Another option is to give away small toys, like bouncy balls, fake tattoos, vampire teeth, window clings and more! Visit your neighborhood dollar store for more great ideas.
- One other great idea is to encourage your kids to give some of their candy away to shelters, or our military personnel in foreign countries. What a great way to thank them and boost their morale by sending a literal “taste of home” to those brave (and homesick) men and women serving our country! Click this link to find out how easy it is: Soldiers’ Angels Treats for Troops