The Absolute Worst Halloween Candy for Your Teeth
Posted: October 14, 2020
Last Modified: June 6, 2022
As Halloween approaches, so too does one of the scariest monsters for your oral health: lots and lots of candy. Handing out sweet, sticky treats has been a tradition for decades, but it’s one that can wreak havoc on your mouth. This year, we’re going to examine the absolute worst kinds of candy for your teeth, but don’t be too spooked. We’re also going to tell you what the healthiest ways to indulge are, so you can rest assured that there’s a sweet surprise waiting for you.
Chocolate contains lots of sugar, but it’s not the worst snack for your teeth – at least, as long as the chocolate doesn’t have any extras added to it. Chocolate is designed to melt in your mouth, which means a good water rinse afterward will remove most of the harmful stuff from your teeth (but, as always, we strongly urge brushing and flossing after consuming candy). It’s this quality that makes it the least spooky type of candy for your teeth to worry about.
If you’re going to indulge in chocolate, make it dark. Dark chocolate naturally contains less sugar than its lighter counterparts, making it a smarter choice for a Halloween treat.
Sour or Powdery Candies
Sour candies might make your mouth pucker, but they’re also a one-two punch to your teeth. As with most candies, they contain sugar, which is tooth decay’s favourite snack. However, sour candies are also usually more acidic than other candies. This is a problem because acids wear down your tooth enamel, which makes your teeth more vulnerable to cavity development. If the sour candies are also gummies, that’s even worse, since gummies can get stuck to your teeth, giving that sugar-loving bacteria more time to wear down your teeth.
Like most candy, hard candies are usually packed with sugar (which we’ve established is not great for your teeth), but the reason they’re particularly bad is because of the time they take to consume. Hard candies like lollipops and jawbreakers are designed to be held in the mouth for extended periods of time, which means your teeth are exposed to sugar longer, giving bacteria more time (and fuel) to create plaque and decay.
Regular popcorn can be a healthy snack, but at Halloween, the popcorn you’ll usually find has been covered in sugar, sticky caramel, or hard, brittle toffee-like coatings. Popcorn kernels can easily get stuck in your teeth or gum line, and when they’re covered in sugar, they basically become a sugar source until you manage to get them out.
Taffy, Caramel, Nuts, and Gummies
You probably already know that gummies are bad for your teeth since they can get stuck and provide a steady source of sugar for the bacteria in your mouth. However, candies that contain taffy, caramel, nuts, or any other kind of hard, sticky filling are just as bad (even the ones wrapped in chocolate). These fillings can likewise stick to your teeth for extended periods of time, heightening the risk of plaque production and tooth decay.
If the candies are especially sticky, you might also run the risk of popping off or chipping fillings or other dental work you’ve had done.
Can’t Go Without? Go Sugar-Free Gum!
If you can’t imagine Halloween without an indulgent treat, stick to either dark chocolate (with a good water rinse afterward) or treat yourself to your favourite flavour of sugar-free gum. If your candy cravings really can’t be sated with anything less than the stickiest caramel, try to eat it along with a meal, when you’ll have enough saliva to help wash it away, and brush and floss your teeth immediately after eating.
If your candy bites back and you discover a cavity, chipped tooth, or broken filling, our Barrie family dentist office is ready to help. For more information on our family dental services, call our office in Barrie at (705) 721-1143. You can also send us a message or chat with us online.