Halloween is full of spooks and scares. However, if you think your child’s zombie costume is scary, just imagine what all of that Halloween candy is doing to your kids’ teeth. Knowing which threats can cause the most harm to your kids’ teeth can help parents limit the amount of potential damage. Here’s a list of the scariest sweets that you should avoid on Halloween.
The Best Halloween Treats For Your Teeth
Sugar-free candies may not be kids’ first choice, but sugarless snacks don’t contain sugar that can feed on the mouth’s bacteria and produce decay-causing acids. Gum and candy containing xylitol like Orbit or Sugar-Free Mentos can actually protect teeth by reducing the acids produced by bacteria and increasing saliva to rinse away excess sugar and acids.
Were you surprised to read that? Halloween favorites such as Kit Kats, Snickers, and Three Musketeers aren’t exactly fruits and vegetables, but as Halloween candies go, they are far from the worst offenders. Chocolate dissolves quickly in the mouth and can be easily eaten, which decreases the amount of time sugar stays in contact with teeth. Also, the calcium found in candy bars can actually protect tooth enamel.
The Scariest Sweet Treats of All
There are fewer sweeter joys in life than finding out just how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. But all that licking that put a wallop on kids’ teeth. Also, chomping down on hard candies like Jolly Ranchers or Lemon Heads can break and chip teeth.
Hard candies may be a Halloween favorite, but suckers and lollipops actually do more harm than you might realize. Because they are meant to be enjoyed slowly, hard candies and their cousins on a stick linger longer, making it difficult for your saliva to do its job and causing acid to build up in the mouth. Making sure that you properly care for your teeth as soon as the candy is gone can help prevent cavities.
Chewy candies, including gummy candies and taffy, are among the worst offenders because they linger and stick around in your mouth, giving them additional time to cause tooth decay. Not to mention, some are sticky and strong enough to pull out a filling, bridge, or braces.
Caramels are another sticky offender because they stick to teeth—not to mention expensive dental appliances like orthodontics. Like other sweets, caramels are best enjoyed after a meal and brushing and flossing immediately after eating limits the amount of time the stickiness sticks around in your mouth.
Sweet Gummy Worms and other gummy treats are delicious, sure. However, chewy gummies are a triple whammy of teeth damage: High in sugar, spend a long time stuck to teeth and are very difficult for saliva to break down.
Sour candies have grown in popularity over the years, and they are bad for teeth on two fronts. They contain both sugar and acid. Like other candies, limit how many sour candies and lemony sweets you or your child enjoys in order to prevent long-term damage any day of the year.
Nothing but pure sugar, Pixie Sticks change the mouth’s pH and give bacteria a feast full of straight sugar.
Defend Against Halloween Candy Damage
It’s essential to defend against Halloween candy damage by brushing teeth with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day for two minutes. To prevent poor dental hygiene, your children should also attend regular dental visits every six months starting at age one. If it’s been longer than six months since your last family checkup, call Hinsdale Dentistry today to schedule cleanings and exams.