With Halloween fast approaching, there’s no denying that costumes and decorations are exciting, but candy and sugary treats can wreak havoc on our teeth. Candy, as well as hurting children’s teeth, can lead to hyperactivity and weight gain. In some cases, the wrong types of candy can also lead to broken teeth and damaged braces.
But as your Des Plaines and Mount Prospect dentist, I understand it’s Halloween. Kids especially need to satisfy their sweet tooth. That’s why we put together this Halloween survival guide to help you and your little ones navigate through this sugar laden holiday.
How Halloween Candy Damages Your Teeth
Sugar is sticky. On our teeth, it becomes a tasty meal for bacteria. Bacteria eat sugar and turn it into a mildly acidic substance.
Over time, this creates a horrible environment for your teeth. That’s when cavities start to develop. Even without the sugar, some candies can still break teeth or cause damage.
However, not all sugar is created equal. You can still enjoy candy here-and-there without risking damage to your teeth. Just keep in mind which types of candy to avoid, and we can help you make it to Thanksgiving without any problems.
Sorting out the Truth on Treats- the good, the bad and the ugly
Luckily for chocolate lovers: the darker, the better.
The cacao compound found in chocolate, CBH, hardens your tooth enamel, making your teeth more resistant to cavities and sensitivity. It’s best to look for dark chocolate with 75% cacao content or higher and with less than 6-8 grams of sugar per serving.
I’d say dark chocolate is one of the best candy options for Trick or Treat during Halloween.
Candy Bars with Nuts
If a candy bar has nuts, it already has more nutritional value than most others. Nuts contain high levels of protein, vitamin E, and other nutrients.
But what about teeth?
Nuts can help break up the sticky portions of candy bars. This means less sugar makes it onto your teeth. They also help scrub the sugar from your teeth. Although, a candy bar with nuts is no excuse to avoid post-candy brushing.
Gummy candy is also very sticky and difficult to clean off from our teeth no matter how well we brush.
Sugar from gummy candy works its way into the deep crevices on our teeth which leads to increased risk for cavities and long-term damage. No one wants a toothache the night before Thanksgiving.
Hard Candy and Lollipops
First of all, hard candies can break your teeth. This fact alone makes them one of the worst candies to have kicking around after Halloween.
Hard candies and lollipops sit in our mouths for a long time giving the sugar plenty of time to settle onto our teeth. It’s tempting to consume these candies compulsively while sugar and bacteria wreak havoc.
I suggest brushing your teeth and flossing as soon as possible after eating hard candy or lollipops to avoid acid damage.
Sour Coated Candy
Their acidic property accelerates the damage caused by bacteria which can make your teeth more vulnerable.
Gummy candy with a sour coating? That’s probably the worst candy for your teeth. Avoid sour candy as much as possible.
Extra candy? Drop them off at our Packages4Patriots Candy Buy Back!
Every year we work with Packages4Patriots to collect uneaten, unopened Halloween candy for our US troops.
We will be collecting candy the week of Halloween during regular business hours. Children are welcome to drop off candy anytime in exchange for $1 per pound and a goody bag including a toothbrush and toothpaste! Any candy donations from adults who would like to find a good home for their unused candy this Halloween will gratefully be accepted as well.
All collected candy will be given to Packages4Patriots who puts together care packages around the holidays and throughout the year to send to the men and women overseas bringing smiles to those who have set out to protect our country!
This program has been very successful in the past year and we hope that 2017 is the best yet!
Let us know if you have questions regarding our Dental Halloween Survival Guide or Halloween Candy Buy Back!