If you‘re like most Americans, you snatch up those giant bags of candy the week before Halloween to appease trick or treaters. The few days before Halloween account for $2 billion in candy sales. Great for the economy, not so great for your teeth.
Worst: Taffy and Caramels
The appealing chewy and gooey sweetness of taffy and caramels may be the scariest part of Halloween when it comes to your teeth.
“The stickier the candy, the longer it stays on the teeth, (and) the more difficult it is to remove, and the more likely it is to cause decay. The longer a food sticks to your teeth, the longer bacteria can feed on it – which could produce cavity-causing acid,” Chase said.
Miniature chocolate bars are the best-selling candy during the Halloween season, and according to Chase they are the best choice. Plain chocolate will generally not stick to your teeth, and therefore it is a much better option for a sweet treat.
“Eating less sticky candy, chocolate without sticky additives, followed by tooth brushing, or a glass of water is the best combination,” Chase said.
Worst: Powdered Candy
Powdered candy is infamous for giving kids a sugar-high.
But Chase warns they contain enough sugar to lead to cavities by changing the PH level in the mouth and feeding bacteria.
Worst: Hard Candy
Hard candies like lollipops and jawbreakers take a long time to dissolve in your mouth, so the sugar is staying on your teeth longer. The high acidity of sour candy can also increase your child’s chance of getting a cavity. And steer clear of lollipops with a sticky center.
“Long-lasting sticky candies give the bacteria a longer time to feed on the high sugar and increase the chances of decay,” Chase said.
Best: Sugar-Free Gum
With a wide variety of flavors and a long-lasting treat, sugar-free gum will help satisfy your sweet tooth, without damaging teeth. It leaves no sticky residue, and it is sweetened with xylitol – a natural sugar that Chase says makes it harder for bacteria to form plaque.
Say 'No' to Halloween Candy?
After some hard-earned candy collecting, telling your children they can’t have any might be the scariest part of your night. Chase said parents need to create a balance for candy consumption during the holiday.
“Even limited amounts of the worst candies are OK if proper hygiene is practiced, but there are better choices. Tooth damage will not happen from a night or week of candy, but we all know it takes much longer than that to consume a jack-o-lantern of hard earned treats.”
On Halloween, there’s more to be scared of than witches and ghouls. New York City-based dentist Dr. Timothy Chase has taken a look at how parents can keep their children’s teeth free of decay during this season of sweets. Read on to learn which candies are OK to indulge in, and which ones are utterly frightening