Best and Worst Halloween Treats for Your Teeth

Kids of all ages as well as adults anticipate Halloween festivities. Dressing up in costumes, going to parties, and, of course, trick-or-treating, are some of the things that make this holiday fun for everyone. 

However, ghouls and goblins beware! If you’re not careful, your candy haul can lead to something frightful at your next dental visit. We all know that sugary, sticky sweets aren’t the best things for your teeth, but here at Steelecroft Dental in Charlotte, North Carolina, we want to help you and your little trick-or-treaters find the right balance this Halloween. 

We’ve put together this easy-to-follow list of the best and worst Halloween treats for your teeth. Use it as a guide to help avoid a dental horror scene the next time you see us. 

Chocolatey vs. sticky

Here’s the good news: Chocolate is one of the least scary treats you can eat after your trick-or-treating adventures. It rinses off of tooth enamel fairly easily. On the other hand, sticky candies — such as gummies, taffy, and caramels — can adhere to your teeth in all the worst places, including cracks, crevices, and the spaces between your teeth. 

The longer the sugary, gooey treats stick around, the easier it can be for bacteria to collect in your mouth and feast on the sugar and your tooth enamel. As bacteria consume the leftover sugar on your teeth, this leads to the development of acid. As acid develops, this can lead to cavities and tooth decay. And if still left untreated, it could lead to a root canal or tooth extraction.

Furthermore, if you or your child has braces, sticky treats can damage brackets and wires. Sticky treats can also loosen fillings. Given the choice between chocolate and ooey gooey, choose chocolate. Dark chocolate is best, because it’s lower in sugar than other kinds. 

Beware of sour candies 

You know that sugar is bad for your teeth, but you may not be aware that sour candies can actually do more harm to your teeth than sugary ones. Sour candies are very acidic, and when acidity lingers in your saliva, it can weaken your enamel and make your teeth more susceptible to cavities. 

And even more frightening, if you eat sour candies that are sticky, candy pieces can hide in your mouth, constantly releasing acid. The best thing to do is resist sour candy this Halloween. But if you can’t, then brush, floss, and rinse immediately afterward. 

Run from jawbreakers and lollipops

Biting on something as hard as a marble, such as a jawbreaker or lollipop, is never a good idea. These hard candies can easily chip your teeth, dislodge fillings, or cause pain in your jaw, especially if you have temporomandibular joint problems. 

Jawbreakers, suckers, and other hard candies take a long time to dissolve, which means you keep the sugary treats in your mouth a lot longer than a piece of chocolate. The sugar can linger, turn into acid, and create a perfect environment for cavities. Avoiding hard candies and lollipops can help the oral health of you and your youngsters.

Popcorn balls may not be a healthy treat

A bowl of natural popcorn might be a healthy treat during Friday movie night, but popcorn balls glazed in a sugary, sticky coating are a total frightfest. Popcorn itself can be a problem due to the pieces that can get stuck in your teeth, but if you dip a ball of popcorn in caramel, marshmallow, or both, you’re in for a dental disaster.

Instead of popcorn balls, choose a chocolate bar with nuts for a crunchy treat. Chocolate rinses off your teeth easily, and nuts can help break down the sugary qualities of the chocolate. 

Grab some sugar-free chewing gum

While it may not be at the top of your list of Halloween goodies, sugar-free gum is perhaps the least-damaging treat you can enjoy this season. Sugar-free gum can get the saliva flowing in your mouth, which can help rinse off the sugars from some of the other not-so-healthy Halloween candies. 

Saliva can also help neutralize the acid from sweet and sour treats, so bacteria have less of a fighting chance at creating plaque buildup. When all your little ones get home from their parties and trick-or-treating adventures, sort through their loot and use this guide to set aside the most frightening pieces of candy.

To schedule a cleaning, or to learn more about what to eat and not eat this Halloween, book an appointment online or over the phone with Steelecroft Dental today.

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