You’ve heard it a million times: Eating candy rots your teeth. But does it really? And do you have to give up sweet treats entirely? In this blog, Padmaja Yalamanchili, DDS, PC, in Fairfax, Virginia, discusses which kinds of candy to eat and which ones to skip.
Candy and your oral health
Forget the witches and werewolves. The scariest part about Halloween might be what the sweets can do to your teeth. But why? It all comes down to the bacteria in your mouth, which love eating sugar. When bacteria eat sugar, acid production is triggered. This acid can damage the enamel of your teeth and leave you vulnerable to cavities and decay.
While eating large amounts of sugar is never a good idea, having treats from time to time isn’t the end of the world. Dr. Yalamanchili recommends brushing your teeth and flossing twice a day, but especially if you hit the treat bag. You can also protect your oral health by making the right choices when it comes to how you indulge your sweet tooth.
The best Halloween candy for your teeth
If you’re stocking up the candy bowl or digging through the trick-or-treat bag, your safest bet involves chocolate and sugar-free options.
You’ll probably be relieved to hear that chocolate is usually your best bet when it comes to Halloween candy. That’s because this option is the easiest to clean off your teeth compared to other sweets. To make it even better, reach for the dark chocolate. This candy usually contains less sugar than regular chocolate, and it also has healthy antioxidants, which can be good for blood pressure and heart health.
Play it safe and reach for sugar-free candies. The act of eating and chewing activates saliva production in your mouth. When saliva production is activated, this increases the moisture in your mouth, which can help neutralize acids and prevent plaque buildup. So when you eat a sugar-free candy, you’re not only saving your mouth from unneeded sugar, you’re actually helping your oral health.
The worst Halloween treats for your teeth
When it comes to candy that’s bad for your teeth, Dr. Yalamanchili recommends avoiding high sugar treats that are sticky, hard, or sour.
Sticky and chewy candies
It can be hard to say no to a caramel candy or a gummy bear, but the stickier the treat, the worse it is for your teeth. That’s because these options can stick to the nooks and crannies of your teeth. This can make the candy hard to remove, even with persistent brushing and flossing. Plus, eating sticky and chewy candies can increase your chances of damaging dental work, such as braces, bridges, and fillings.
Lollipops, jawbreakers, and other hard candies are made to last. Unfortunately, that means they can spend a lot of time in your mouth releasing sugar and producing acid. Hard candies can even lead to chips or cracks in your teeth.
If a candy makes you pucker up, you should probably leave it in the goodie bag. These candies often contain both sugar and acid, two things that can wreak havoc on your enamel very quickly.
In addition to brushing, flossing, and making the right candy choices this Halloween, Dr. Yalamanchili recommends scheduling a professional dental cleaning. She offers services for both children and adults.
To get your teeth cleaned or to learn more about the best and worst Halloween treats for your teeth, book an appointment online or over the phone with Padmaja Yalamanchili, DDS, PC, today.