Halloween is one of the scariest 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
Rating: 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
Rating: 4. Chocolate is a better choice than most candy 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
Rating: 5. Milk chocolate is a close second to dark, but avoid any with caramel, nougat and other sticky fillings.
Rating: 7. Candies designed to be sucked on for long periods of time bathe your teeth in a sugary solution.
• Candy corn
Rating: 8. The sticky sugars in candy corn will cling to teeth long after the treat is gone.
• Gummy candy
Rating: 8. Gummy candies can also get stuck to and in between teeth. This feeds the decay-causing bacteria for a long time and can lead to cavities.
Rating: 9. Not only are caramels and toffees sticky, they can also pull out fillings!
Rating: 10. Like lollipops, jawbreakers are designed to 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
Rating: 10. Acidic candies provide a one-two punch: They wear down enamel and are loaded with sugar – the perfect recipe for decay.
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 is the best way to keep the plaque monsters at bay. Have a happy Halloween!