For quite some time, I tried to keep candy away from my oldest. Ha! With candy at every holiday, church gathering, school event, and even the bank and other stores, it was impossible. I did think to teach him about moderation and teeth brushing, but it is a constant struggle, for sure.
The effects that Halloween candy can have on your little monster’s teeth will make you scream. Although one night of candy probably won’t hurt, prolonged snacking can cause wear on tooth enamel. I've gleaned some great tips from Jefferson Dental for the best and worst candies for your (children's) teeth! While you sort candy together, keep in mind these tips for picking treats that are best and worst for your bewitching smile!
Candy to Avoid
- Hard candy that slowly dissolves in your mouth like Jolly Ranchers or suckers can be especially harmful because of the amount of time the sugars sit on the tooth’s surface.
- Jaw breakers and other hard candies can chip teeth and dental crowns.
- Chewy candy like taffies, toffies, gummies and caramels can get stuck in the crevices of your teeth, and continue promoting decay for hours or even days!
Candy that is "Okay"
- Sugar-free candies and gums are best for adult and developing teeth. In fact, some of them actually encourage saliva production, which is the #1 defendant against cavities.
- Chocolate-based sweets, especially dark chocolate, rinse from teeth easily and in some cases have even been shown to provide beneficial antioxidants when ingested.
- Powdery candy, while sugar-based, dissolves quickly and doesn’t stick to teeth.
Alternative Halloween Treats
- Apples with yogurt are a good “sweet” snack that doesn’t coat the teeth in sugar. Apples are thought to be good for the teeth because the natural crunch disturbs plaque.
- Carrots, cucumbers and celery with dressing. Veggies aren’t the top choice for kids on Halloween but try out these fun ways to serve up healthy alternatives.
- Crackers, popcorn and savory snacks come in festive fun-size packaging like Halloween candies do, but rinse from teeth more easily than sugary snacks. Be wary of sticky, marshmallow or caramel coated treats that stick to teeth.
- Drink water while eating candy to help rinse sugar off of teeth. Beware of chasing Halloween candy with soda or fruit juice that add another layer of sugar on the surface of the teeth.
Halloween tricks and treats will make you smile but to avoid the ghostly effects on your teeth of continuous sugar snacking, always brush, floss and rinse your mouth after eating candies. Help kids understand the healthy limitations of eating Halloween candy and the importance of good oral hygiene to ensure a Halloween full of smiles.