Halloween season is the scariest, sweetest and sugariest time of the year. For kids, it’s Candy Christmas in October.
Think your child’s Walking Dead zombie costume or Count Dracula costume is scary? Just imagine what all that candy they’ll be chowing down on this Halloween may be doing to their teeth.
Halloween is also the most terrifying time of the year for kids’ teeth health, thanks to the five-course feast of sugar, corn syrup, chocolate and other tooth-weakening ingredients on the menu for the sugariest night of the year.
Alarmingly, few American homes put limits on how much Halloween candy their kids can eat.
A dental study found the number of parents limiting the amount of Halloween candy their children can eat at a time has decreased a whopping 28 percent from 89 percent in 2013 to just 61 percent for this Halloween.
Meanwhile, kids’ teeth have never been in greater danger of getting toothaches and cavities from kids’ insatiable sweet tooth. Too much Halloween sweets can leave your children’s teeth in such rotten condition even the Tooth Fairy might not want to collect them.
But knowing which Halloween candy can put the sweetest hurt on kids’ teeth can help parents limit the sugary damage the sweetest night of the year can inflict on their family’s next dental visit. Here’s our list of the Best and Worst Halloween Candy For Teeth. Some of these sweets are bound to surprise you.
The Best Halloween Candies
- Sugar-Free Saves Teeth: Sugar-free candies may not be kids’ first choice, but sugar-less snacks don’t contain sugar that can feed on the mouth’s bacteria and produce decay-causing acids. Gum and candy containing xylitol like Orbit or Sugar-Free Mentos can actually protect teeth by reducing the acids produced by bacteria and increasing saliva to rinse away excess sugar and acids.
- Good Ole Candy Bars: Huh? Yep, timeless Halloween favorites like Kit Kat, Snickers and Three Musketeers aren’t exactly fruits and vegetables, but as Halloween candies go they are far from the worst snacks your kids can chow down on. Chocolate dissolves quickly in the mouth and can be easily eaten, which decreases the amount of time sugar stays in contact with teeth. Also, the calcium found in candy bars can actually protect tooth enamel.
- Chocolate Milk: Enjoying a cold class of Yohoo or Quik, armed with high pH, reduces the acidity candy leaves on teeth.
Be wary though of chocolates with fillings like caramel and nuts (Payday and Snickers) which are infinitely more harmful to teeth.
The Worst Halloween Candies
- Lollipops: There’s fewer sweeter joys in life than finding out just how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. But all that licking that put a wallop on kids’ teeth. Also, chomping down on hard candies like Jolly Ranchers or Lemon Heads can break and chip teeth.
- Chewy Candy: Alas, sweet Gummy Worms and Dots, how much we love thee, how much you hate our teeth. Chewy candies like taffies (sorry, Laffy Taffy fans), caramels and gummies are a triple whammy of teeth damage: High in sugar, spend a long time stuck to teeth and are very difficult for saliva to break down.
- Sour Candies: Sour Patch Kids boast scary acidic levels which break down tooth enamel.
- Powdery Candies: Nothing but pure sugar, Pixie Sticks change the mouth’s pH and give bacteria straight sugar to feast on.
The Best Halloween Candy Defenses
Practicing these good Halloween candy habits can also help prevent All Hallow’s Eve from putting a scary hurt on your kids’ teeth.
- Eat Dinner Before Trick-Or-Treating: A belly full of nutritious food reduces the likelihood kids will overindulge on their candy bounty.
- Wash Down Candy With High Quality H20: Have your kids drink extra water to stay hydrated while they trick-or-treat and and to wash away excess sugar from their teeth.
- Brushing And Flossing Saves Teeth: This is a Halloween must. Make sure your children thoroughly brush their teeth for two minutes and floss after enjoying their Halloween candy party. Practicing good oral hygiene will keep kids’ mouths clean and their teeth safe from decay.
Remember, with a smart Halloween candy consumption plan, the scariest night of the year doesn’t have to be a horror movie for your children’s oral health.