Best and Worst Halloween Candy for your teeth

Halloween is this weekend and parents often want to know what Halloween candy and treats are best for their children’s teeth. Parents also want to know what candy to avoid, if possible!

The hygienists and dentists at Grand Dental Group explain that the best candy are the types that are eaten quickly and dissolve rapidly in the mouth. This reduces the amount of time that sugar sits on the teeth. Sugar exposure causes cavity-forming acids to linger in the mouth. Sugar and acid are part of what causes dental decay. The worst types of treats are ones that are eaten slowly, are sticky, or very acidic.

The professionals at Grand Dental have come up with a list of the best and worst types of candy for your kids this year:

Best Choices for Candy:

  • Chocolate or dark chocolate. Chocolate melts quickly in the mouth and dark chocolate also has some health benefits. In addition, a small amount of chocolate can satisfy even the biggest chocoholic-cravings, so less is needed to eat! M&M’s, Hershey’s fun size bars, etc. are all good choices.
  • Sugar-free candy or candy made with xylitol completely removes the cavity-causing concerns that parents fear. Moreover, xylitol has been shown to have anti-cavity benefits! Sugar-free and xylitol options are often available online or in grocery or health food stores.
  • Candy that dissolves quickly, such as smarties, are also acceptable. The less time candy is in the mouth or sits on the teeth, the better for your child’s teeth.

Worst choices for candy:

  • Sticky candy such as taffy, caramel, or tootsie rolls taste delicious, but get stuck in the most cavity-prone deep grooves in kids’ teeth.
  • Suckers or long-lasting hard candy, such as Jolly Ranchers, can be tough on teeth for a few reasons. First, they take a while to eat, so the teeth are exposed to sugar longer, and they can harm teeth if you crunch down on them. However, many sugar-free hard candy options are now readily available.
  • Gummy bears, gummy worms, or Sour Patch candies are sticky and can be acidic, which is a double whammy for teeth.

Today, many schools and parent groups are opting for non-food treats due to food allergies, safety concerns, and of course, health reasons. Play-Doh, stickers, temporary tattoos, pencils, and other novelty Halloween toys are just as much fun as candy. Well, sort of!

Now, since Halloween comes once a year, there is nothing wrong with indulging in the delicious treats, candy, and sweets that come with the fun of trick or treating. Moderation is the key factor.

Enjoy any of the above listed candies in small amounts, and limit your kids to a certain number of treats per day. Another great idea is to set some tooth-brushing rules for kids. For example, kids must brush for one minute for every piece of candy they eat, etc. Long term harm will not come to teeth that are brushed and cared for after indulging in the occasional seasonal sweets.

Another excellent option is to donate extra candy within a few days after Halloween. At Grand Dental Group, each of our offices is participating in the Halloween Candy Buy Back Program, sponsored by Operation Gratitude.

Our offices are accepting unopened Halloween candy in exchange for cold hard cash! Candy will be shipped to our military overseas and parents will have a great reason to get rid of all of the extra sweets.

Go to our community events page at granddentalgroup.com or follow us at Grand Dental Group on Facebook and Google +; Granddental on Instagram; or @granddentalIL on Twitter to get the locations, dates, and times of our Halloween Candy Buy Back events!

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