Autumn is here, and with it comes changing leaves, cooler weather, and, of course, Halloween. For many people of all ages, Halloween isn’t just a holiday. It’s the best holiday of the year. It’s the holiday where you get to dress up as your alter ego, your favorite hero, or your most beloved arch-villain. But no matter if you are a child or an adult, it also comes with a pretty big temptation that can be pretty bad for one’s teeth. That temptation is candy.
Halloween is candy season. For our JMU dental team, that means it is also dentist season. There are many bad-for-the-teeth processed foods our culture consumes on a regular basis, but few types of food are as bad as candy. Candy is loaded with both sugar and calories, both of which aren’t ideal for the human body. Sticky candies like gummies and caramel sweets and acidic candies like sour candy are the worst offenders. These candies will eat away at the tooth’s enamel and cause cavities and other issues. The best way to prevent this is to avoid candies, and the second-best way is to always brush after eating.
Looking to enjoy your Halloween candy but want to avoid the worst of offenders? Consider the following list:
If you eat just 19 tiny pieces of Brach’s Classic Candy Corn, you will consume a whopping 28 grams of sugar. To put that in perspective, public health departments and officials recommend that adults should consume no more than 30 grams of sugar per day and children under age 7 no more than 20 grams of sugar a day. So with just one handful of candy corn, you or your child are consuming either more or just about your entire daily recommendation! Additionally, the sticky nature of this candy means it commonly gets lodged between teeth.
This is one of those acidic types of candies we were referring to. The acidic nature of Sour Patch Kids weakens and can cause permanent damage to the hard outer shell of a tooth, also known as the enamel.
Lollipops often seem to be less bad than other options as most people lick them and don’t bite down on them to get all the hard, sticky parts in between their teeth. However, the continued licking makes them so bad as the longer you savor them, the more you get the sugar in your teeth.
Jolly Ranchers are bad for the same reason lollipops are. These candies are designed to be sucked on for a while, releasing constant sugar in the mouth, which then eats away at the teeth.
Fun Dip is a candy so acidic that it has incredibly low pH levels of 1.9 and 1.8. Those are near the same levels of pH you’ll find in battery acid. There are probably fewer worse candies for your teeth than this one.
Jawbreakers have two big things going against them. First, they need to be sucked for a while and have the same long-term sugar issues with long sugar consumption as Jolly Ranchers. Second, they live up to their name with their hard nature and can chip or crack teeth.
These candies take time to dissolve, leaving a ton of sugar in one’s mouth. The sugar coats teeth in a film, sometimes hard enough to chip teeth.
Airheads’ very soft and chewy nature makes it incredibly hard to remove from teeth — especially when brushing isn’t done for hours after the candy has been eaten.
Twix is a whole mess of sticky, sugary chocolate and caramel that are hard to remove from between the teeth and gums. Eating these promotes bacteria and acid growth.
While not all dried fruit is bad, dried fruit with added sugars is some of the worst Halloween offenders. This is because of the high sugar concentration, and many think it has to be healthy because it’s fruit.
Halloween comes but once each year! It’s almost impossible to discourage excited little ones from trick or treating. Yet, you can give your patients valuable advice for making the right choices. Educate patients on the best and worst Halloween candies. Take the time to explain why these candies are harmful to the teeth.
Inform your patients of the importance of thoroughly brushing and flossing their teeth immediately after finishing Halloween candy. This is the best way for them to keep their tooth enamel healthy, even if they’ve had a bit of “bad” Halloween candy.
When it comes time to treat your patients, JMU Dental is here for you. We are proud to provide the dental tools and supplies you need.