Halloween Candy: Can Some Be Better for Your Smile Than Others?

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It’s that time of year! Halloween is right around the corner and popular candies are making an appearance. The majority of Halloween candies contain high amounts of sugar, and we know that sugar increases plaque in the oral cavity, which can cause tooth enamel damage [1]. The result? Sensitive teeth, cavities, and even discolored teeth. Boo!

However, the good news is that some candies are better for your teeth than others. Let’s take a look at which candies can be less harmful to your pearly whites and which you should ideally avoid to protect your smile!

Sticky Candies Are the Worst for Oral Health

Any Halloween candy that can stick to your teeth are some of the worst candies you can eat. Why? Because their sticky nature means they hang on to your teeth for longer, getting stick in the grooves of your molars and exposing your teeth to sugar and acids for a longer amount of time than necessary.

These candies include:

  • Caramel
  • Gummy bears
  • Gummy worms
  • Taffy
  • Fruit-flavored chewy candy, such as Starbursts

Some of these treats can even be so sticky and hard to chew that they damage restorations in the oral cavity, such as filling, bridges, and crowns. Sticky candy is also the enemy of orthodontic appliances such as braces. Sour candies that are also sticky are particularly harmful, as they’re extra acidic to tooth enamel on top of being sticky.

Foods That Require Longer Exposure Can Also Hurt Teeth

Any candy that’s meant to stay in the mouth for a longer period of time can also be damaging to teeth. This is because it keeps the mouth exposed to sugar for longer than it would take to chew and swallow a regular piece of candy. These candies include lollipops, gum that contains sugar, hard candies, Jolly Ranchers, jawbreakers, and Life Savers.

Biting down on these hard candies can also crack or chip teeth and damage dental restorations, so always supervise children with these candies and encourage them to drink water afterward to protect their teeth from sugar!

Which Candies Are Better for Dental Health?

There are candies that are better for your teeth than the above-mentioned ones. Some of the better Halloween candies for teeth include:

  • Sugar-free gum. Although your child might not find sugar-free gum in their trick-or-treat bag this year, this type of gum is the best for teeth, as it’s even been shown to help prevent cavities [2].
  • Dark chocolate. Milk chocolate is runner-up to dark chocolate, which contains natural chemicals called polyphenols that may actually help inhibit certain types of oral bacteria [3].
  • Candy bars with nuts. Nuts help chewy candy bars to not stick as much to teeth—just be wary of candy bars with caramel, which can be quick to stick to teeth and damage fillings!

Stay Safe This Halloween!

When it comes to keeping your teeth safe this Halloween, try focusing on candies that are better for you—and always remember to drink water to help buffer your teeth from sugar, and keep your regular appointments with your dentist for a healthy smile. Happy Halloween!

Sources:
1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cavities/symptoms-causes/syc-
2. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/c/chewing-gum
3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19397954/

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