Halloween Candy: Your Dental Health Survival Guide

With Halloween comes ghosts, goblins and goodies…and the sugar in those treats can play some unwanted tricks on your teeth if you are not careful! Toledo area dentist Dr. Natalie Nechvatal sends a warning: The bacteria in your mouth are probably more excited to eat Halloween candy than you are. When the bacteria eat the sugar and leftover food in your mouth, a weak acid is produced; that acid is what can contribute to cavities.

But don’t hang up your costume just yet. Halloween is about candy, dressing up and having fun. It is okay to eat that candy on Halloween as a splurge as long as you are brushing twice a day and flossing once a day all year long. To help you sort through the trick-or-treat bag loot, Toledo family dentist Dr. Natalie Nechvatal, gives a rundown of some common candies and their impact on your teeth:

Chocolate

Chocolate is probably your best bet, which is good because it is also one of the most popular kinds of candy handed out on Halloween. Chocolate is one of the better candies because it washes off your teeth easier than other types of candy. Dark chocolate also has less sugar than milk chocolate.

Sticky and Gummy Candies

Be picky if it’s sticky. This candy is harder to remove and may stay longer on your teeth, which gives that cavity-causing bacteria more time to work.Sticky candies such as taffy and gummy worms are worse for your teeth than non-sticky candies. Debris will wrap itself around the teeth, promoting the formation of bacteria and acids that eat away at the enamel and cause cavities. Parents should perform an “audit” of their children’s candy, limiting the amount of sticky candy they are allowed to consume.

Hard Candy

Hard candies are also ones to watch on Halloween. They can actually break your teeth if you are not careful. You also tend to keep these kinds of candies in your mouth for longer periods so the sugar is getting in your saliva and washing over your teeth.

Sour Candy

You might want to pass on things that make you pucker – especially if they are sticky and coated in sugar. Sour candy can be very acidic and that acidity can weaken and damage the hard outer shell of your teeth, making your teeth more vulnerable to cavities.

Popcorn Balls

Have some floss handy if you are enjoying one of these fall favorites. Kernels can get stuck in-between your teeth. They are also sticky, sugary and can be hard.

Soda

A single can of cola can contain as much as 39 grams of sugar!  When you combine sodas with candy, it is even worse for your teeth and gums. If your child wants to enjoy a sweet treat on Halloween, encourage them to drink water instead of sodas – water will wash away debris allowing your child to enjoy an occasional piece of candy!

If you live in Northwest Ohio, visit Dr. Natalie Nechvatal to keep your mouth healthy on Halloween and year-round.  Call Light Touch Dental Care at 419-866-4271 for a consultation and examination.