Halloween is here, so it’s not an easy task to keep yourself or your kids away from all the candy. It’s this day of the year that the bacteria in your mouth have been waiting a very looong time for. But don’t give up on your costume just yet – we have made a list with all the sweets you should look for to avoid a nasty trick instead of a yummy treat.
What happens in your mouth when you eat sweets
Sugar from the goodies you enjoy start its devastating work on your teeth as soon as it contacts the tooth. The sugar molecules attach themselves to the molecules of your saliva which coats the teeth and gums. And 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.
Your best bet? Dark chocolate.
Pure, dark chocolate is much better for the teeth than chocolate bars. Though chocolate does stain the teeth over time, eating a small amount here and there can be so much more satisfying. Dark chocolate contains less sugar, and is less likely to stick to your teeth, as it dissolves quickly. So if you are looking for sweets that are good for your teeth, while each have their risks perhaps opting for dark chocolate is one of the safest options.
Second place goes to… Chocolate bars with lots of nuts.
Regular candy bars aren’t the best things for your teeth, and depending upon their ingredients, can be very sticky and damaging to teeth. This is why you should look for candy bars that have a lot of nuts in them: the nuts break up the sticky consistency, and leave sugar on teeth for far less time than candy bars without nuts. But don’t forget to brush your teeth after eating them. It’s still a guilty treat after all.
Sugar-free chewing gum
Yes, we realise that celebrating Halloween with sugar-free chewing gum is not exactly what you’ve planned for this day, but trust us, your teeth (and your dentist) will thank you later. Why? Because sugar-free gum does not have any sugar in it. The taste is added using sweeteners, and therefore the gum does not cause tooth decay. Xylitol is a natural sweetener and is found in some berries, fruit, vegetables and mushrooms. It has a sweetness equal to that of sugar. Even better, the Oral Health Foundation claims that: ‘Xylitol helps to prevent plaque bacteria sticking to the teeth. Studies have shown that xylitol can help reduce tooth decay and even help reverse the decay itself by helping to replace the minerals in tooth enamel.’ We bet you feel different about it already, right?!
But here’s what you should definitely avoid this Halloween
Hard candy is very popular, and comes in nearly every flavour and size imaginable. Unfortunately, it can crack your teeth. Hard candy also tends to stick around longer than other candy, which exposes teeth to sugar for longer. Extended contact with sugar can lead to more cavities because sugar provides bad bacteria with the energy it needs to destroy enamel.
Be picky if it’s sticky! Like hard candy, sticky candy can get stuck in tooth crevices and stay around long after it’s been swallowed. Sticky candy is difficult to remove from teeth, and gives cavity-causing bacteria more time to eat away enamel.
Sour candy can leave teeth susceptible to cavities more so than any other candy. This is because sour candy contains a high amount of acid. In fact, the elevated acid content is what makes it so sour. The acidity can eat away the enamel of teeth, and leave them vulnerable to cavities.
OK, we get it. You may feel that this list is not convincing enough to skip all the fun and that’s okay. Just remember that you have to brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes. Don’t neglect your oral care routine after Halloween or it will not only get spooky, but nasty too! 😉