Halloween is just around the corner, and with it comes a year’s supply of sugary treats for children across the country. While a piece of candy or two every once in a while is perfectly fine, too much sugar will cause plaque to build up on your child’s teeth, where it can form cavities. Some candies contain more sugar than others and will cause tooth decay faster than those with less sugar. Similarly, some candies have a certain texture that causes a plaque-forming residue to linger on your child’s teeth long after he or she has finished eating them. We’ve made a quick list of the best and worst types of candy so you can make sure your child is enjoying only the healthiest treats, and even better, that you spread the love by selecting healthy treats to hand out to the neighbors’ kids!
Chewy/sticky sweets top our list as the worst candies for your child’s teeth. These include taffy, caramels, tootsie rolls and even dried fruit. Not only are they high in sugar, but also very difficult to remove from teeth. Their soft and sticky texture causes residue to get lodged between teeth where only floss can reach, but by the time your child flosses, it may have already caused some damage.
Sour candies are generally highly acidic, causing them to break down dental enamel. Have you ever noticed that your mouth feels strange after eating a few sour candies? This is likely due to your oral tissue breaking down slightly due to these acids. The same thing happens to your teeth even though you don’t feel it. Although not immediately harmful, eating these too frequently can take a toll on your child’s dental enamel, which is the first defense against cavities.
Hard candies like lollipops and gobstoppers require a long time to dissolve while your child sucks on them. In the meantime, all the sugar from the candy sticks to their teeth, often in hard-to-reach places where cavities are most likely to form.
Sugar-free lollipops and hard candies are an excellent alternative to their sugary counterparts. The act of sucking on a candy promotes the production of saliva which can both help prevent dry mouth and produce enzymes that will break down sugary residue from other candy.
Sugar-free gum comes in a wide variety of flavors and can actually prevent cavities from forming. It not only dislodges food particles but can also stimulate saliva production, which helps prevent tooth decay.
Powdery candy, like Pixy Stix, is also a healthier choice, surprisingly. Although it is packed with sugars, the soft texture allows it to dissolve rapidly in the mouth, which prevents the sugar from sticking to your child’s teeth.
Overall, moderation is key. It’s fine to let your child enjoy the trick-or-treating spoils but be sure they also maintain a vitamin-rich diet and healthy dental habits too! Feel free to contact our office at 303-421-7611 if you have any questions about what we recommend for your child’s dental health.