We know that food with high sugar content, like candy, is bad for your oral health. But did you know that some candies are more damaging to your teeth than others? Before you and your kids head out the door this Halloween to trick-or-treat, we want to share with you which candies are okay (in moderation) and which candies should be avoided to maintain your healthy teeth.
Why is sugar bad for your teeth?
Your oral microbiome contains both good and bad bacteria. The good bacteria actually help protect your teeth and gums, fight bad breath, and are the first step in the digestion process. However, the bad bacteria weaken your enamel leading to cavities, tooth decay, and even tooth loss if left untreated.
Bad bacteria feed and thrive on sugar and their acidic byproducts are what lead to tooth damage. The more sugar they have to feed on and the longer they have to feed on it puts your oral health at risk. Not all candies are created equally and some put your teeth at risk more than others.
Did you know that sugar-free gum has actually been shown to be beneficial to your oral health by preventing tooth decay? Chewing gum increases saliva flow and saliva is your mouth’s natural teeth cleaner. Saliva helps wash away food particles trapped between teeth and also neutralizes acidity in the mouth. At Embrace Dental, we recommend looking for sugar-free gum with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance, which confirms the safety and efficacy of a product.
We understand that there would a lot of disappointed trick-or-treaters if all they got was sugar-free gum. Although chocolate–especially milk chocolate and low-quality chocolate–is high in sugar, it is probably the best candy option for your child’s teeth. Because chocolate candy melts, it’s much easier to clean off of your child’s teeth.
Chewy/Sticky candies like gummies, caramels, taffy, and fruit chews can easily get stuck between your child’s teeth and are much more difficult to get off even with diligent brushing and flossing. The longer the candy remains in the mouth, the more opportunity the bad bacteria have to feed on it and multiply releasing damaging acidic byproducts into your child’s mouth.
Kids tend to leave hard candies in their mouth for a long time creating the same issues as chewy candies. Furthermore, if kids bite down on hard candies like Jolly Ranchers or Jaw Breakers (it’s even in the name), the risk cracking or dislodging their teeth.
Hard candies and chewy candies with sour flavoring spell double trouble for your oral health. Not only are they bad for your teeth for the reasons discussed above, but they’re typically high in sugar AND highly acidic. This acidity in the candy is damaging to your teeth the same way bacteria’s acidic byproducts are damaging to your teeth.
Halloween should be a fun and carefree time but hopefully not at the costs of your child’s oral health. We hope that these recommendations will help guide your children’s choices when they dive into their candy basket. From everyone at Embrace Dental in Sparks, we wish you a Happy Halloween!
About Embrace Dental
Local dentist, Dr. Megan Dinh and her experienced, friendly team at Embrace Dental offer affordable and gentle dental care in Sparks, NV. We are conveniently located between the Sparks Crossing and Sparks Galleria Shopping Centers. At Embrace Dental, we provide most dental services, from family and general dentistry to specialty procedures, including dental implants, dentures, endodontic or root canal treatment, teeth whitening, cosmetic dentistry and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Fill out our contact form or call us at (775) 391-6212 to book an appointment!