For parents, they know that Halloween is one of the biggest hazards to a children’s teeth, mostly from their own childhood Halloween candy binging. However, not all candy created equal in terms of the damage it can do to young teeth. In fact, while most candy is not great for teeth, there are some types that are vastly worse than others. If you are prepping to protect your child’s teeth for Halloween or even just curious for your own occasional candy indulgence, here are the types of Halloween candy that are the worst for your teeth.
The Worst Halloween Candy for Teeth
- Caramel, Nougat, Taffy Candies – These are the absolute worst candies for your teeth. The reason behind it should be pretty obvious – they stick to absolutely everything. The sticky binders like nougat, caramel, or taffy are made from pure sugar and they are meant to be chewy and sticky. While this means they may hold ingredients like nuts or coconut together as well as have a pleasant mouth feel, they cling to teeth. This gives bacteria sugar to feed on and a place to cling to teeth. This in turn produces the acid that causes cavities.
- Lollipops – Lollipops aren’t quite as bad as those sticky caramel treats, but they are still pretty bad. So long as your child isn’t chewing on them, lollipops won’t stick, but they too take a huge amount of time to dissolve. This means that teeth are exposed to a prolonged period of sugar and can actually make your mouth more acidic, the desired environment for bacteria as well as bad for enamel.
- Hard Candies – Similar to lollipops, hard candies are typically just slightly better than lollipops because you don’t eat them for as long. However, it is still a prolonged amount of time that teeth are exposed to sugar. The worst hard candy is the sour candies that can actually change a mouth’s pH in a way that will cause bacteria to thrive.
- Chocolate – Surprisingly enough, pure chocolate bars are actually the least harmful to the teeth of the candy that is still bad for teeth. It dissolves fairly quickly and doesn’t typically stick to teeth, but the sugar is still an issue.
What Types of Halloween Candy are Best for Teeth?
The only tried and true good treat for teeth on Halloween (besides fruit that no one wants in their Halloween bag) is sugarless gum. As it is sweetened with ingredients other than pure sugar, it is something that you can enjoy without it changing the pH of your mouth or sticking to your teeth.
However, when compare to all the above candy, sugarless gum kind of comes up a little short. If you are being diligent to your child’s teeth this Halloween, you could also try introducing them to dark chocolate. Not only doesn’t it resist sticking to teeth, but dark chocolate actually has less sugar than milk chocolate. Having your child develop a taste for dark chocolate at a young age will ultimately help their teeth throughout their life since it will help steer them towards healthier candy choices.
How to Have a Teeth-Friendly Halloween
Your child probably won’t come back with a Halloween bag full of sugarless gum and dark chocolate. That’s the dream, right? Yet, it won’t happen. Instead, let them enjoy their Halloween candy. Most dentists will recommend that you let them have one or two good candy sessions and give the rest away. This way, they get to enjoy all the good stuff in their haul without eating on it every day for several weeks.
After any candy session, be sure to have your child brush their teeth thoroughly and they should have teeth that come out still perfectly healthy after the Halloween candy binge.