04 Oct 2018 The Best Candy For Teeth
OK, this title is a little bit misleading. It implies that candy can sometimes be good for teeth. Let’s be clear. Candy is not good for teeth and any dentist in Salt Lake City, Holladay, or anywhere in the U.S. would tell you that the best candy for your teeth is no candy at all! But let’s be realistic. It’s October and Halloween is coming in a few weeks. Most of us, even adults, usually succumb to at least a few pieces of Halloween candy. If we are being honest with ourselves, we might have to admit that we usually have more than a few pieces!
Certainly some candies are better for you than others. Hopefully this article will help you make good decisions about the candy you buy and consume this month!
Hands down, the best candy for your teeth is dark chocolate.
This may surprise you, but compounds in chocolate actually fight tooth decay by hardening enamel. Chocolate also has antibacterial properties and can help limit harmful bacteria in your mouth.
Of course, when you take chocolate and mix it with sugar to make milk chocolate or combine it with sticky caramel, it is not nearly as good for your teeth. The sugar attaches to bacteria in your mouth to form plaque. Carmel can stick to your teeth, staying on it longer and increasing the chance of tooth decay.
Sugarless gum and candy, especially those sweetened with stevia or xylitol, are also not too bad for your teeth. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that has been shown to decrease tooth decay. Chewing it in gum might actually help reduce decay in your mouth. Any sugarless gum stimulates saliva to form in your mouth. Saliva is one of your body’s best defenses again tooth decay. Saliva can “wash” your mouth and restore your mouth’s natural pH balance. So, the right gum can be one of the best candies for your teeth. It can save you from some dental damage and some bad breath.
Candy with Peanuts
Chocolate candies with peanuts in them are the next best choice. Yes, these candies put sugar into your mouth which eventually leads to plaque. However, the chunks of peanuts in them can also help clean your mouth. Peanut M&M’s, Payday bars, and Kind bars all have this effect in your mouth. If you’re going to grab something sweet, this is a great alterative to other candies.
Unfortunately, many candies that kids love are much WORSE for teeth that the ones listed above.
Sour candies are quite acidic and can disrupt the pH balance of your mouth, making you more likely to develop cavities. Candies like Sour Patch Kids, SweetTarts, and Nerds can coat teeth in sugar.
Sticky candies are also bad for teeth. Avoid anything sticky—taffy, gummy bears, even dried fruit will stick to teeth and stay on teeth. Fresh fruit is much better for teeth because the sugar is less concentrated. Some fruits, like apples, actually clean teeth.
Hard candies, like lollipops are also worth avoiding. When you suck on a lollipop, your mouth is exposed to sugar again and again. If you chewed it and were quickly done with it, it would be much better for your teeth.
How to care for your teeth after eating candy
The best thing you can do for your teeth is to swish with water. The water will clean your mouth and get some sugary debris off your teeth. Then after about 30 minutes, brush your teeth.
Eating Halloween candy slowly vs. eating it all at once
Any dentist will tell you that it is far better to eat Halloween candy all at once and be done with it. This way, you teeth have one sugary event to recover from. If you snack on candy for several days or weeks, your mouth will be exposed to the sugar again and again. Enjoy your candy on Halloween, then get it out of your house. Your teeth will thank you!
If you choose to just throw out all the rules of dental safety, contact us at Holladay Family Dentist and we can help your smile recover from the ruthless effects of Halloween.