Halloween decorations are going up, the air’s turning cool and crisp, leaves of varying colors are falling from the trees. And it won’t be long before a parade of adorable kiddos dressed as pirates, princesses, dinosaurs, and storm troopers come knocking at your door.
So what will you be dropping into those bags and pumpkins this year? Candy is candy, right? And nothing wrong with indulging on this special occasion. Absolutely to the latter. It’s okay to have candy once in a while, like on Halloween night. But not all candy is the same. While some types are fine in moderation, others are really not worth the damage they can do to young teeth and gums.
This year, when you peruse the Halloween displays of ACME or ShopRite, think about purchasing sweets that will do the least amount of harm to kids’ teeth. The good news is that the children won’t even know what they’re missing.
Book an appointment at Premier Dental of Bordentown NJ by calling 609-949-5115.
Treats to Avoid
Some sweets are best just left on the shelf. And it’s not just about the sugar content. Read on to learn which types of candy are especially dangerous for dental health, and why.
Sticky and Sweet Is a Bad Combination
Unfortunately, so many commercial candy today is sticky, gooey, gummy, or stretchy. Kids may love these sweets, but they are terrible for their teeth. This category includes gummy bears, gum drops, taffy, caramel, jelly beans, and lots of other popular confections. Anything with a sticky texture will get stuck in the grooves of the teeth and will be difficult to remove completely. Bacteria feed on the lingering sugar, multiply, wear down the enamel, and form plaque and tartar.
Maybe you’re thinking of purchasing gummy fruit snacks, granola bars, fruit roll-ups, or raisins as a healthier alternative. Don’t bother. These have the same harmful effects as sticky or chewy candy.
Hard Candies Bathe the Teeth in Sugar
Hard candy seems pretty harmless. You suck on it for a while — don’t even have to chew it — and then it’s gone. Unfortunately, long after it’s dissolved, it’s still hanging around. The liquified sugar combines with the saliva in your mouth, creating a solution that coats your teeth and stays put. And the longer sugar remains in contact with your teeth, the more bacteria form and do their dirty work of creating acids and destroying tooth enamel. So give the suckers and other hard candies a pass this year.
Sour Candy Eats Away Enamel
Extreme sour candies are popular with kids. Unfortunately, they are very high in acid, and this is bad news for teeth. Acid is the enemy of tooth enamel. This is why you have to brush and floss to rid your mouth of harmful bacteria. When bacteria feed and proliferate, they produce acids, and this is what leads to cavities. When you eat any sort of food that’s high in acid, it has the same effect, even without the help of bacteria.
Best-Bet Halloween Candies
Don’t worry, you don’t have to deprive the neighborhood kids of the pleasure of a sweet and delicious treat. Chocolate is a great Halloween candy choice, as long as it doesn’t contain chewy parts like caramel. Peanut butter cups are a fine choice as well. Keep in mind that dark chocolate contains less sugar than milk chocolate, and chocolate with nuts provides an extra nutritional bump.
Chocolate may even have some benefits for your teeth! It is believed to contain compounds that fortify tooth enamel (possibly better than fluoride) and fight decay-causing bacteria.
Sugarless gum is another smart solution. Chewing it increases saliva production in the mouth, and this helps cleanse the teeth and gums of food particles and destructive bacteria. Toss a pack of this in the kids’ Halloween buckets, and they will have something to keep their mouths fresh and clean after indulging in candy.
We hope this guide will be helpful for you when you buy candy this Halloween — or at any time of the year. Because when there are so many great candy options that kids love and that aren’t terrible for their teeth, why go for the bad stuff? You can make a difference, however small, in the dental health of the children in your neighborhood.
If you live in the region of Bordentown, NJ, you can count on Premier Dental to take care of all of your dental needs. To book an appointment, fill out our handy web contact form or call our office at 609-949-5115.