How Do Your Sweets Stack Up?
Halloween is one of the spookiest holidays for teeth — but all candies are not equally frightful. Some of the sweets in your children’s treat bags have the potential to do more damage to teeth than others. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the worst, we rated the harmfulness of the most popular treats on teeth.
- Sugar-free gum: 1. As long as it doesn’t contain sugar, gum can be good for your smile. It stimulates saliva production, which helps fight dry mouth and rinses away food particles.
- Dark chocolate: 4. Chocolate is a better choice because saliva is able to rinse it from teeth relatively easily. Because it has less sugar than milk chocolate, dark chocolate is your best bet.
- Milk chocolate: 5. Milk chocolate is a close second to dark chocolate, but stick to candies without caramel, nougat and other sticky fillings.
- Lollipops: 7. Candies designed to be sucked on for a long period of time end up bathing your teeth in a sugary solution for hours on end.
- Candy corn: 8. The sticky sugars in candy corn will cling to teeth long after the treat is gone.
- Gummy candy: 8. Similarly, gummy candies get stuck to enamel and in between teeth. This feeds the decay-causing bacteria for a long time and can lead to cavities.
- Caramel: 9. In addition to being sticky and clingy like gummy candies, caramel and toffee can also pull out fillings.
- Jawbreakers: 10. Like lollipops, jawbreakers expose teeth to sugar over a long period of time. Plus, crunching down on a hard object is bad news for teeth! They’re called jawbreakers for a reason.
- Sour and tart candies: 10. Candies like these provide a one-two punch of being very acidic and loaded with sugar, which can eat away at tooth enamel over time.
Regardless of what kind of candy you and your children indulge in this Halloween, you can minimize the damage by eating sweets with meals. The extra saliva generated while eating helps wash the stickiness and sugars away. A glass of water after eating can assist as well. And, of course, brushing and flossing before bed will also help keep the plaque monsters at bay. Have a happy Halloween!
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