Parents, among others, know that Halloween is a sugar indulgence holiday. More than Easter, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day put together, Halloween is the holiday where there are just two rules: Costumes and Candy – You can be spooky or silly, cozy or crazy, but there simply must be candy!
With sweets and candy filling children’s mouths everywhere, there’s no surprise that Halloween is also a dentist’s worst nightmare. Every child (and adult, too) should take heed when it comes to dental health around Halloween. Emergency dental visits, lost fillings, pulled baby teeth, and sugar pains mean that dentists are busier after Halloween more than any other holiday.
So, what are the worst Halloween candies for your teeth, and which are the best? How can you keep your teeth safe on Halloween while still making wonderful memories? Rhoades Dentistry is here to answer these dental questions, crucial as you prepare for Halloween weekend.
The Top 6 Worst Halloween Candies for Teeth
While going teetotal for Halloween candy doesn’t work for everyone, it’s helpful to know what to look out for to try and swerve your kids (or yourself!) in the right direction when choosing candy. So with that, here’s a rundown of the six worst candies for your teeth.
#6: Gummy Candies
Anything “gummy” will be fun to chew but bad for your teeth. Gummy candies are made of chewy sugar that sticks to the ridges of your teeth – exactly what plaque loves to see, and where it thrives. As gummies are full of sugar, it takes a lot of rinsing and brushing to get your teeth free of lingering particles.
Caramels are almost as bad as gummy candy but become softer and dissolve when warmed in your mouth. While no one can deny that these are delicious, caramels are notorious for taking out fillings, dislodging dental pieces, and getting stuck in teeth leaving a perfect atmosphere for rotting teeth.
#4: Hard Candies, Lollipops, and Suckers
Hard candies and lollipops can saturate your mouth with sugar for a relatively long time. While sucking on these hardened sugar treats can slow down ravenous candy consumption, it could be at the price of plaque feeding, extended exposure to high sugar acidity on gums and enamel, and even cracking of teeth leading to emergency dental visits for your little ones.
#3: Sour Candies
Speaking of acidity, sour candies are worse than plain sugary treats. The acid used to make them sour (citric acid, for example) clings to the teeth along with the sticky sugar and can create more enamel and gum damage than you might think. Doesn’t that leave a sour taste in your mouth?
#2: Powdered Candies
Sour powders roll these issues together by forming a soft powder that forms almost an irremovable paste inside a child’s mouth. Any sour powder candies that dye the tongue and cling to the teeth may also create acid and sugar damage that can harm teeth even after a few hours of exposure.
Jawbreakers live up to their name and more. These large and hard candies can cause major tooth fractures, especially with young teeth trying to crack through them, so our best recommendation is to avoid these in any way possible. If you’re looking for a compromise, let your older children smash the jawbreakers on the driveway outside as a fun activity – Just don’t let anyone eat them!
Best Halloween Treats for Teeth
There’s good news too! There are some yummy Halloween treats that range from less bad to almost good for your teeth and the teeth of every child who dumps their trick-or-treat haul on your living room floor.
Is your home a stop-off for little trick-or-treaters? Do you want options this Halloween that avoids rotting and cracking teeth? Try these kid-friendly, dentist-friendly treats as an alternative to Halloween candy – or use them as a bargaining chip to trade in for the bad stuff!
- Soft Chocolate Bars (Dark chocolate has less sugar)
- Nuts & Trail Mix
- Dried Fruit
- Home-baked bites (such as these delicious date balls)
- Dental Gum (for children old enough to chew gum)
Chocolate is among the better candies because it is soluble, usually non-acidic, and washes away with any beverage. Nuts and crunchy fruit can be good for teeth (and tummies) so throwing a few bags of M&M trail mix into the snack pile can make a positive difference.
Smart parents can also try including minty dentist-approved gum, which kids may enjoy in preference to cheap bubble gum and will give their teeth a break between pure-sugar candies.
One Simple Trick for Better Halloween Dental Health
What is the one thing you can do to reduce dental damage around Halloween? Drink water. It’s not a miracle cure, but regular sipping and swishing water over your teeth will remove a layer of sugar and thus reduce harm to your teeth during the big candy-fest that is Halloween.
A few ounces of water during Halloween treat binging will also help kids and adults digest candy healthily without bellyaches. Encourage your children to drink a few sips of water to earn their next candy to ensure they’re well-hydrated and looking after their teeth as best as possible.
Halloween Tooth Troubles? Book a Not-At-All-Spooky Dentist Appointment with Rhoades Dentistry
If you discover tooth troubles before, during, or after Halloween, Rhoades Dentistry is here to help. Our dentist offices are not at all spooky, and we work hard to make dentist time an anxiety-free experience for kids and adults. We are an open-minded, respectful, and supportive environment, so we understand that everyone is going to eat a lot of candy around Halloween (as we will too!) So we respect your candy choices and are ready to provide support to every toothache or accidental damage that might happen, and we’re prepared to help! Remember that prevention is crucial and ensure that Halloween stays fun and exciting for years.
Rhoades is a full-service dental practice offering check-ups, cosmetic dentistry, oral cancer screenings, emergency dentistry, orthodontics, and pediatric dentistry. Book an appointment with us anytime.