The Worst Kinds of Halloween Candy for Your Teeth
What scares you the most on Halloween? Vampires and witches and werewolves might come to mind, but in reality, the spookiest part about trick-or-treating is all that candy—and the cavities it can cause.
Sugary snacks are your teeth’s worst enemies, yet on October 31, countless kids, teens, and even adults will indulge in heaps of the sweet stuff. Here’s a look at which candy is the worst for your teeth, some friendlier alternatives, and tips to keep your smile healthy on Halloween and beyond.
Halloween Candy Most Likely to Cause Cavities
- Sticky or gummy candy: The delightfully chewy quality of these sweets is also their downfall. Traces of candy can lodge themselves between your teeth and on the biting surface of your molars. The longer that sugar sticks to your teeth, the higher your cavity risk becomes.
- Hard candy: If you suck on hard candy, it doesn’t come in direct contact with your teeth, but the sugar mixes with your saliva and lingers in your mouth, sometimes for five minutes or longer. If you pop in piece after piece, sugar attacks your teeth constantly, and your saliva can’t do its job of washing away debris and cleaning out your mouth.
- Sour candy: As if the sugar in gummy or hard candy wasn’t enough, candy companies also sell sour candy. Citric acid weakens the outer layer of your teeth, known as enamel, increasing the risk of decay. It’s a double blow your teeth don’t need.
More Tooth-Friendly Candy Options
- Dark chocolate: Chocolate doesn’t stick to your teeth or linger in your mouth the way other candies do. Dark chocolate also has less sugar than white or milk chocolate, along with surprisingly high antioxidant and mineral content to promote good health when enjoyed in moderation.
- Sugar-free gum: Chewing on gum can feel similar to eating candy, but as long as it’s sugar-free, it has almost no calories and increases saliva flow to reduce plaque buildup and tooth decay.
- Candy sweetened with xylitol: Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that tastes sweet without increasing cavity risk. In fact, xylitol reduces tooth decay and can even reverse cavities in their early stages. You can find xylitol-sweetened candy in many forms, including suckers, gummies, and chewing gum.
Good Oral Habits for a Healthy Smile
If a mouthful of cavities is more frightening to you than ghosts and ghouls, protect yourself by following these tips—not just on Halloween, but all year-round:
- Brush your teeth morning and night.
- Floss once a day.
- Rinse your mouth with water after raiding your Halloween candy stash. Better yet, brush your teeth as soon as possible.
- Visit the dentist every six months for professional teeth cleaning.
- Consider preventative measures such as dental sealants, mouthguards, and fluoride treatments.
For more tips to maintain a healthy smile, or to schedule your next appointment, please contact our dentist in Hazlet at (732) 264-4477.