Halloween may be a little different to usual this year, but chances are that there will still be candy available in abundance. There’s no getting away from the fact that Halloween is the perfect holiday to indulge our sweet tooth and enjoy some of the treats that we might usually stay away from at other times of the year. There are heaps of different candies to choose from, some of which are worse for our teeth than others.
Too much Halloween candy and poor oral hygiene is a dental horror story. This is because sugars in the food we eat combine with the bacteria on our teeth to produce plaque – a thin, clear sticky substance that coats the teeth and contains a weak acid that can erode the enamel of the teeth and cause cavities. Unless the plaque is removed, it can also cause spread onto the gum tissue, causing the onset of gum disease. Gum disease is a progressive, inflammatory condition that can lead to infection, gum recession, jawbone deterioration and tooth loss. Studies have even found a link between advanced gum disease and health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
The effect of Halloween candy on your teeth doesn’t mean that you have to avoid sugary treats altogether, but it does payoff to be mindful about which candy you choose this spooky season. To help you make the best choices for your oral health, here’s what you need to know about some of the most common Halloween candies.
Of all the Halloween candies, chocolate is probably the safest to indulge in. This is because it is much more easily removed from the teeth than other types, and a good drink after eating it can remove most of the sugars. Choose dark chocolate where possible, as it contains less sugar than milk chocolate varieties.
As you might expect from hard candies, these treats are tough on teeth and have even been known to break them if proper care and attention isn’t afforded. Hard candies also usually need to be sucked to make them smaller, meaning that they are in your mouth much longer and so the sugar has more time to spend damaging your teeth.
From gummy worms and snakes to sticky eyeballs, these are probably the most common type of Halloween candy. Unfortunately, they are also the worst, and this is because sticky candies are the hardest to remove from the teeth. Unless you brush them right away, the sugars found in these candies will have much longer to interact with the bacteria in your mouth, producing acids that erode the enamel of your teeth.
Sour candies are among some of the favorites handed out at Halloween. However, they will leave your mouth with much more than just a serious zing. Sour candies can be very acidic, and this acidity has the potential to weaken and damage the enamel of the teeth, making them more vulnerable to cavities.
Finally, a Halloween treat that you can seriously get involved in. When possible, always choose sugar-free candies as these will prevent unnecessary damage to your teeth. Xylitol, which is a sugar substitute, has been shown to have anti-cavity benefits, which is one of the reasons why chewing sugar-free gum is considered beneficial for our oral health.
If you are still scared about the prospect of cavities this Halloween, don’t hesitate to call Levenson Smile at (508) 731-3940 to speak to our oral care team who will be frightfully happy to assist you.