Autumn has officially begun and that means the start of school, Thanksgiving, and Halloween! Heading into October, kids are excited about costumes, decorating, pumpkin carving and trick-or-treating. Halloween is a favourite holiday for most kids, who love being able to dress up and indulge their sweet tooth with delicious goodies. However, parents and dentists alike know that eating candy is not good for kids’ teeth. This is because bacteria are even more excited than your kids to eat all that sugar! Bacteria thrive on excess sugar and food in the mouth, resulting in the production of an acid that contributes to the development of cavities. So how do we make sure kids don’t miss out on the fun, but are still able to protect their teeth? The answer can be found in this blog post, where we are going to address some of the worst Halloween candies for your teeth. By knowing which candies are the worst, and which are slightly better, kids can still have fun trick-or-treating and eating their goodies, without causing damage to their teeth. As always, the best way to prevent cavities and tooth decay is to maintain a comprehensive oral health care routine that includes brushing, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash.
Here, we will break down some of the most common types of candy found in goody bags on Halloween. We’ll discuss some of the brands of candy that fall into these categories and which are the worst for teeth. In general, sticky candies that leave the mouth coated in sugar should be avoided whenever possible.
Good news for chocolate lovers: of all the candies handed out on Halloween night, chocolate is one of the best for your teeth! Unlike other candies, chocolate can be washed off the teeth more readily than sticky alternatives. Most chocolate residue can be removed by simply brushing your teeth. Opting for dark chocolate is also a good choice for your teeth as it contains less sugar than milk or white chocolate. However, many chocolate bars and candy bars contain more than just chocolate. Caramel, toffee and nut fillings can all make chocolate bars worse for your teeth. Chocolate options that are okay for teeth include Kit Kats, Nestle’s Crunch, Hershey’s Chocolate, M&Ms, Smarties and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. These chocolate bars are less “sticky” than Twix, Snickers, Milk Way, and other treats that will stick to teeth and make it difficult to remove all sugar residues. When eating candy, always opt for options with the least “sticky” fillings that won’t leave teeth swimming in sugar and difficult to clean.
Sticky and Gummy Candies
Unfortunately, gummy candies are some of the worst treats when it comes to your oral health. We recommend being exceptionally picky when it comes to choosing which gummy treats you choose to eat. It is extra important to brush and floss your teeth promptly after eating any gummy candies as they are notorious for sticking to teeth and leaving a sugary residue that encourages bacterial growth. Sticky candies include Laffy Taffy, Starburst, Gummy bears and worms, Swedish Berries, Swedish Fish, Skittles, candy corn, Dots and Fuzzy Peaches.
In general, hard candies are not good for teeth. In fact, if you aren’t careful while you are chewing, some hard candies can even break teeth or pop out fillings! Not only can hard candies leave a sticky residue on your teeth, but if you are sucking on them for a long period of time, sugar is able to coat your entire mouth. In general, hard candies, especially caramels, should be avoided. Common hard candies include Werther’s Original, Life Savers, Jolly Ranchers and Nerds. If you do enjoy hard candies, always brush your teeth promptly after consuming to avoid excess sugar staying in your mouth for a prolonged period.
As their name describes, sour candies can make your lips pucker. Unfortunately, sour candies can be very acidic and damage the hard, outer shell of teeth. This weakening of the shell can make teeth more susceptible to cavities, which is not ideal when large amounts of candy are being consumed during Halloween. Common sour candies that you may find in your children’s loot bags include Sour Patch Kids, SweeTarts, Sour Skittles and Air Heads.
Popcorn, popcorn balls and other popcorn treats can result in kernels getting stuck between teeth. Sticky, sugary popcorn balls can get kernels trapped that leave excess sugar between teeth to facilitate bacterial growth. In order to prevent this, we recommend flossing after consuming any popcorn or popcorn balls.
The most important thing you can do for your teeth at Halloween time is to continue to maintain a good oral healthcare routine. This includes brushing teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing and rinsing with a mouth wash. It is also important to replace your toothbrush on a dentist recommended schedule of every three months. We recommend visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups and professional cleaning to spot any oral health problems before they can cause significant damage. In addition, drinking lots of water and eating a healthy diet can help improve your oral and overall health.
If Halloween candy wreaks havoc on your teeth, and you need to look for a dentist in Vaughan and the Greater Toronto Area, look no further than Dr. Lloyd Pedvis at the Mackenzie Dental Centre. Dr. Pedvis has been a practicing dentist for over 25 years and provides comprehensive services including family dentistry, cosmetic dentistry and orthodontia. Serving the Vaughan, Woodbridge, Maple and Richmond Hill areas, Dr. Pedvis and his friendly and expert team provide oral health care for families in the Greater Toronto Area. Following the fun, excitement and candy-consumption of Halloween, it’s a great idea to book your regular dental check-up and cleaning. To get started and book your next dental appointment, contact Dr. Pedvis and his team at 905-417-8700. Whether you are looking for dental implants, Invisalign braces, a check-up or cleaning, Mackenzie Dental Centre can provide all your oral healthcare needs.