Halloween brings an endless supply of sugary treats, but these delectable confections can play some dreadful tricks on your teeth.
Dr. Abraham Nobel of Nobel Dental, located in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, offers the following list of best and worst Halloween treats for your teeth. Read on to learn which goodies you should avoid and which are okay, provided you brush and floss after indulging.
The scariest Halloween treats for teeth
- Sticky treats. This means candy corn, Starburst, Gumi Bears, taffy, jelly beans, caramels, and marshmallows. They’re gooey and take lots of chewing. As a result, the stickiness coats not only the chewing surfaces of your molars but the fronts and backs of teeth. These substances stay on your teeth longer which makes them harder to remove.
- Lollipops and suckers. Given that lollipops are sucked, rather than chewed, they take a long time to finish, so your teeth may be bathed in liquefied sugar for up to a half-hour. If there’s chewy candy or bubble gum inside the lollipop, the sugar exposure is even longer.
- Hard treats. We’re talking Jolly Ranchers, LifeSavers, and jawbreakers. Biting down on these can cause you to chip or crack your teeth. Also, as with lollipops, hard candies dissolve slowly keep teeth coated in sugar for an extended period.
- Popcorn balls. Popcorn creates lactic acid in your mouth which breaks down the minerals in your enamel. The other liability, all those little pieces that get stuck in and between your teeth.
- Sour candies. These treats — such as Sour Patch Kids, Skittles, and Sweetarts — contain a high amount of acid that erodes tooth enamel.
The least scary Halloween treats for teeth
- Chocolate. Yes, chocolate! It melts quickly in your mouth, so the sugar doesn’t linger. Dark chocolate is best since it contains less sugar than milk chocolate. A bonus: Naturally-occurring substances in dark chocolate may slow tooth decay and prevent bacteria from sticking to your teeth.
- Sugar-free candy or gum. Artificial sweeteners are not necessarily good for your overall health, but they do not contribute to tooth decay. Plus, chewing sugar-free gum encourages saliva flow, while the gum itself can help remove gunk from crevices in your teeth.
- Fresh fruit. If you’re in charge of doling out the treats, consider fresh fruit. Package grapes into single-serving baggies or offer up clementines.
More tips about eating sweets
Limit your intake. Make sure to brush and floss thoroughly after consumption. If you don’t have access to your toothbrush, drink water after eating candy to rinse away sugar and acids.
For questions about Halloween treats and for all of your oral health needs, call our office today or request an appointment online.