Halloween is approaching and candy is everywhere. Consuming an excess amount of candy is an obvious no-no, but if you do indulge this season, and we don’t see anything wrong with a little indulgence, make sure to take extra-good care of your teeth. And when dipping into the candy bowl, remember that some treats are better for your teeth than others. We had Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) spokesperson Cynthia Sherwood, DDS, weigh in on the best and worst options.
The Worst Offenders:
- Chewy and sticky sweets, like gummy candies, taffy, and even dried fruit are hard to resist and even more difficult to remove from teeth. “These candies are a serious source of tooth decay, particularly when they get stuck in the crevices between teeth, making it nearly impossible for saliva to wash them away,” says Dr. Sherwood.
- Sour candies are highly acidic and can break down tooth enamel quickly. Luckily, saliva slowly helps to restore the natural balance of the acid in the mouth. Dr. Sherwood recommends that patients wait 30 minutes to brush their teeth after consuming sour/acidic candies; otherwise, they will be brushing the acid onto more tooth surfaces and increasing the risk of enamel erosion.
- Sugary snacks, including candy corn, cookies, and cake, all contain high amounts of sugar, which can cause tooth decay.
The Better Choice:
- Sugar-free lollipops and hard candies stimulate saliva, which can help prevent dry mouth. “A dry mouth allows plaque to build up on teeth faster, leading to an increased risk of cavities,” Dr. Sherwood says.
- Sugar-free gum can actually prevent cavities as it not only dislodges food particles from between the teeth but also increases saliva—which works to neutralize the acids of the mouth and prevent tooth decay.
- Dark chocolate and its antioxidants, according to some studies, can be good for the heart and may even lower blood pressure.
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