Did someone say “trick or treat?” It’s Halloween again, a time when everything spooky and scary comes out – including that delicious Halloween candy. While it may taste good, it’s not really good for us, and it’s especially bad for our teeth. But don’t despair, there are certain candies that are better than others. Whether you want to be a responsible candy giver or you are looking to sort out the bad treats from your child’s loot this year, here are some of the best (and worst) Halloween candy bets.
Those chewy sweet-and-sour candies or little boxes of gumdrops are Halloween favorites, but they’re also pretty bad for your teeth. That’s because in addition to being packed with sugar, they stick to your teeth, essentially holding that sugar in place and inviting plaque-causing bacteria to hitch a ride! Same goes for taffy or other soft, chewy treats.
Though gum isn’t as common in Halloween buckets as other treats, those individually wrapped pieces of bubblegum are bad news. Why? For starters they’re usually not sugarless, which means you are chewing on sugar and keeping it in your mouth for an extended period of time. This can encourage the formation of cavities, so ditch the sugary chewing and stick with sugarless gum.
Hard candies are pure sugar, too, but unlike other types of candy, a hard candy takes awhile to dissolve, so the sugar stays in your mouth longer. Plus, because they’re sticky, they coat the teeth with a clingy layer of sugar.
Any kind of chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is better for the teeth because it’s not too hard or soft and it’s not sticky. Plus, dark chocolate actually has health benefits like flavonoids and antioxidants!
These crunchy favorites are full of chocolate and better for the teeth, but be careful. Some varieties have caramel or other fillers that may not be so healthy. Peanut M&Ms are healthier because they contain nuts, but with so many children with nut allergies, you may want to pass on the peanuts.
Crackers and Pretzels
Several brands of crackers and pretzels now make Halloween packs that are perfect for snacking. Though carbs aren’t great for your teeth, as long as you brush afterward, they’re a lot better for you than sugar-laden candy. They’re definitely a treat you can feel good about handing out.
Many retail stores have started prepackaging non-edible Halloween goodies like bubbles, erasers, bouncy balls and squishy toys. These have the added benefit of working for children with food sensitivities who may not otherwise be able to experience the fun of trick or treating.
No matter what you choose to allow your children to eat, make sure they are brushing their teeth well after they eat them, and try to limit the amount of candy they eat per day. If you are handing out candy, do your neighbors a favor and stick to the healthier stuff!
To schedule your next appointment, please call Dr. Abelar at 858-523-1400.