The Best and Worst Halloween Candy for Your Teeth

The Best and Worst Halloween Candy for Your Teeth

Listen up, it’s Halloween, and if you think your kids (or you) aren’t going to eat any candy, you’re kidding yourself. Candy is one of the most anticipated benefits of dressing up and knocking on your neighbor’s doors. Sure, you can take your kid’s candy the next morning or try to portion control it, but at the end of the night, you can guarantee your kids will eat way too much. Candy is part of Halloween, and as much as we like or dislike that fact, it’s still true. It’s natural to worry about how much candy your kids eat, but you should worry more about what they are eating.

In my house, we had a tradition that as soon as we got home from trick-or-treating, we would dump out our booty and see what kind of candy we got. I would trade amongst my siblings and I would give my mom all of my almond joys (what was I thinking?). If you have a similar tradition in your home, take special care to see what candy your kids have.

The Halloween Candy You Should Probably Take From Your Kids

Sticky Candy

If you spy a lot of sticky candy like caramels, tootsie rolls, salt-water taffy and the like amongst your kid’s candy, consider making a trade. Sticky candies are some of the worst candy for your teeth, and unless you want to pay for the cavities, you’ll want to take care to limit their intake. The reason these candies are so harmful is because of how long they stay stuck on your teeth⁠—even after brushing⁠—giving the cavity-causing bacteria plenty of time to build up and break down your enamel. 

Hard Candy

Just as sticky candy is bad because it’s stuck in your teeth, hard candy is bad because it requires you to leave the candy in your mouth for a long time. And, if you get too excited about eating your sucker or jolly rancher, you might end up breaking your teeth. It might seem ironic that the classic doctor’s office candy could be bad for your teeth, but the acid produced from suckers keeps your saliva from rinsing your mouth and instead spreads bacteria. 

Gummy Candy

It doesn’t matter if it’s a bear, a worm, or a sour patch kid, gummy candies are terrible for your teeth. They are extra sticky and get stuck in tooth crevices just like caramel would. It’s even worse when it’s a sour candy as the puckering acidity wears down the enamel on your teeth. If you spy some gummies in your kid’s giant pile of candy, help them pick out a few to keep and discard the rest.

So, What Can They Eat?

Chocolate

The mightiest of candies, the chocolate, is the king of Halloween (besides Jack Skellington, of course). Chocolate, in terms of oral hygiene, is the best candy for your teeth. While you may get particles of Butterfinger or KitKat stuck in your teeth, the chocolate particles will dissipate quickly with your saliva. It doesn’t linger on your teeth for nearly as long as other candies. Plus, some chocolates have some healthier components, like nuts (coated in caramel or nougat usually, but nuts all the same). The healthiest of chocolates are dark chocolate⁠—legend has it that there is an ingredient in cocoa that fights tooth decay, plaque, and hardens your enamel. 
Moderation in all things is okay, so having a fun-sized candy or two on Halloween isn’t going to give you a stomach ache or lead to tooth extractions (but if you do need a tooth pulled, check out washingtonperio.com). As your kids go trick-or-treating this year, let them enjoy some of their candy, but make sure they brush and floss their teeth before bed.

Categories: Child

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