The Best and Worst Types of Candy for Your Teeth
There are many types of candy, and most of them are very harmful to your teeth. However, some candies are worse than others. At Lifetime Family Dental, we know that candy can be hard to resist, especially around Halloween! To keep your teeth and your children’s teeth strong, we want to help you understand which types of candy are best to eat in moderation, and which ones are the absolute worst for your teeth.
Why Is Candy Bad for Your Teeth?
Because most candies are full of sugar, they can be extremely damaging to your teeth. When you eat candy, the bacteria in your mouth interact with the sugar to create acids, which damage your tooth enamel. When acids erode the tooth enamel, bacteria can enter the sensitive insides of your tooth, causing gum disease, tooth decay, and abscesses—all of which can lead to tooth loss.
Best Candy for Your Teeth
We’d love to say that the best candy for your teeth is no candy at all, but we know that isn’t very realistic! Remember to always eat candy in moderation, and help your children protect their teeth by limiting their intake of sweets.
You can also minimize the effects of eating candy by immediately rinsing your mouth with water and by brushing your teeth 30 minutes to an hour after eating. Acid softens your enamel, so brushing any sooner might actually cause more damage to your teeth.
The best type of candy for your teeth is chocolate because it does the least amount of damage. Chocolate doesn’t stick to your teeth like other types of candy, so it’s easy to remove by swishing water in your mouth or by running your tongue over your teeth. The best kind of chocolate is dark chocolate because it contains the least sugar.
Some types of sugar-free candy and gum can be good for your mouth if they contain xylitol. Because the bacteria in your mouth do not feed on xylitol as they do with sugar, xylitol can help prevent tooth decay. However, not all sugar-free candy is good for your teeth. Sticky sugar-free candy can still get stuck in your teeth, and hard sugar-free candy can still cause cracks or breaks. Citrus and sour flavored candies are also very acidic, which can cause a lot of damage, even if they don’t contain sugar.
3. Candy Containing Nuts
Unless you have braces, fragile teeth, or a nut allergy, candies with nuts can also be good to eat in moderation. Many nuts contain calcium and vitamin D, which strengthen your teeth and gums. The chewing and crunching will also stimulate saliva, helping to rid your mouth of food particles and prevent tooth decay.
Worst Candy for Your Teeth
1. Sticky Candy
Gummy, gooey, and sticky candies are the worst types of candy for your teeth. Gummies, taffy, caramel, and other sticky candies tend to get stuck in hard-to-reach parts of your mouth. Regularly brushing and flossing your teeth doesn’t always get rid of those pieces that get left behind, leaving your teeth more vulnerable to tooth decay.
2. Sour Candy
Sour-flavored candy is more acidic than regular candy. Acid eats away at your tooth enamel, causing cavities, tooth sensitivity, and other complications. Teeth with weakened enamel are also more likely to chip or break, which could send you to the dentist chair.
3. Hard Candy
Hard candy encourages you to suck or lick the candy over a long period of time, exposing your mouth to the harmful effects of sugar for longer. Trying to bite down on hard candy can also chip or break a tooth. If you are able to eat hard candy without damaging your teeth, pieces of it may still get stuck in between your teeth and cause tooth decay.
Teeth Cleaning in Gilbert
No matter how much candy you eat, regular visits to your dentist are necessary for a bright, healthy smile. At Lifetime Family Dental, we provide gentle teeth cleanings and exams for the whole family. We’d be glad to answer all of your questions about the best and worst candy for your teeth. If you or your kids need a professional teeth cleaning after enjoying all those Halloween treats, make an appointment today.