The classic caramel, traditional taffy, and time-honored sweets like gummy bears are all the things your childhood Halloween dreams were made of. They are also the stuff your childhood cavities were made of. Now you’re grown and have children of your own, so you get to enjoy your favorite fall and winter holidays vicariously through them. This time around, get the whole experience without the painful repercussions. Make sure all the kids in the neighborhood can maintain good oral health through the holidays: this year, buy tooth-healthy treats. Hands down, the healthiest candies to give away on Halloween are sugarless lollipops and xylitol gum. But if you don’t want the neighborhood to think of your house as the Halloween buzzkill, here is how your treat options stack up:
Powdered or Particle Candy: Though candy that comes in a powdered form is still filled with sugar, the light texture is easy on the teeth and it dissolves and washes away quickly, giving it little time to do serious damage. Consider filling your treat bowl with some of these classic kid favorites:
- Pop Rocks®
- Pixy Stix®
- Fun Dip®
Chocolate (especially dark): Though packed with sugar, chocolate is arguably healthy. It dissolves quickly, so it spends little time in your mouth or on your teeth. It is high in both calcium and antioxidants, which offer a multitude of benefits such as strengthening tooth enamel and bone, and improving hearth health and blood pressure. Surprise trick-or-treaters with miniature versions of their favorite traditional chocolate bars, or fun it up with creatively wrapped individual pieces and unique flavors. You can’t go wrong with our following favorites:
- Hershey’s® Miniatures chocolate bars
- Dove® Chocolate mini squares
- Foiled milk or dark chocolate the shape of coins or hearts
- Hershey’s® Kisses pumpkin spice-flavored candies
Sour Candy: Sour candies have high levels of acid that break down tooth enamel quickly and weaken teeth, which may lead to decay and cavities. If you must give in to a sweet-and-sour craving, stick to the sour version of powdered candies. It is recommended that you wait up to an hour, and no less than half an hour, to brush your teeth after eating sour treats, as it may actually spread the acid to other areas in the mouth.
Hard Candy: Many hard candies are Halloween favorites but, simply put, they are hard on teeth. Hard candies tend to be sucked on for a long time, making decay more likely and putting your teeth at risk for cavities. Also, biting down on these stony confections can lead to tiny teeth chipping and breaking. It’s best to go with sugar-free versions of these candies if you plan to hand them out.
Chewy or Sticky Candy: Sadly, the candy that tends to be most detrimental to pearly whites is anything sticky or chewy. Taffy, gummy candies, and the beloved caramel are hard to chew and stick to tooth surfaces. They also get into the crevices both in and on teeth and are very difficult to remove, allowing for plenty of time for decay to do damage. It’s best to minimize or steer clear of these sweets and opt instead for the tasty alternatives.
Regardless of what you decide to hand out on Halloween night, your kids will come home with a variety of goodies, but don’t despair. There are simple measures you can take that will allow them to have their holiday fun and keep their teeth.
1. Help your children practice moderation by only purchasing enough goodies to hand out Halloween night. Don’t end up with leftovers that cause the candy intake to stretch out over weeks.
2. Make sure your whole family stays consistent with their at-home oral hygiene practices, including brushing, rinsing, and flossing.
3. Remind your kids to rinse after enjoying a piece of candy. It will help wash away any harmful sugars and acids that may remain on the surface of teeth.
4. Once the treats are gone, schedule each family member for a routine cleaning. And if your children don’t already have them, discuss the benefits of sealants with your provider, and consider getting them for added protection.
To find out more about how to protect your children’s teeth throughout the holiday season, or to set up an exam, call 575.527.4746 today.