Halloween candy season is exciting for kids and doting adults alike. But behind the chatter and ‘trick or treat’ calls, few realize the dangers that lie in store for our teeth. Market reports indicate that nearly 25% of annual candy sales are generated during the season and dentists too report an abnormally higher number of dental decay and cavities immediately after Halloween. The sheer variety of candy in the supermarkets is sure to leave you lost for choice. In the best interests of your teeth and those of your kids, here’s the lowdown on the good, the bad and the ugly of candy during Halloween:
Dark chocolate wins the popularity stakes hands down in ‘trick or treat’ situation. If you wish to get the most out of Halloween, choose dark chocolate. Apart from taste and its obvious health benefits, its relatively low sugar content makes chocolate tooth-friendly too. Moreover, it contains polyphenols which restrict the debilitating action of oral bacteria on our teeth and reduce bad breath. Finally, the presence of epicatechin, a flavonoid, significantly reduces tooth decay. All these qualities make chocolate stand out as the best treat to offer or accept during Halloween.
Similarly nut-filled candies are also a good option as they have a cleaning action and clear away the sugar from the dental surfaces immediately.
Stay away for candies that tend to stick to the dental surfaces when you suck or chew upon them. Generally, candy that has caramel fillings, can be expected to cause dental cavities. It’s because these kinds of sweets have the nasty habit of spreading all over your mouth and getting stuck to teeth, including those hard to reach areas where your toothbrush can’t reach easily to reach and clean. With bacteria feeding on the sweet particles, decay sets in and before you realize, you have cavities in your teeth.
Also, on the list of candy to stay away from during Halloween in particular, are the hard varieties – lollipops for example. While this type of candy doesn’t stick to teeth, their sugar content dissolves very slowly and so it stays longer on the tooth surface. Consequently, acid formation in the oral cavity leads to deterioration of the teeth.
What you need to really beware of are the sour candies. Contrary to popular belief, sour candies are more dangerous than sugar candies. The high acidic concentration in sour candy breaks down tooth enamel pretty fast. Powdery candy is also something best kept away because they dissolve really fast as they don’t need to be chewed upon. They are sugar-rich and attract bacteria immediately.
It’s evident that the ‘root’ cause (pun intended!) lies in the generous amount of candy that we relish during this period. Do brush your teeth regularly and don’t forget to schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately after Halloween. This way you can be sure that your teeth escape the threats during ‘trick or treat’ season!
Image Credit: Self portrait – Candy is dandy! by MattysFlicks via CC Licensing
Dr. Inna Trogan – DDS is experienced in cosmetic dentistry, periodontics, and general dentistry. An active member of the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Dental Association, Dr. Trogan continuously stays up-to-date on the latest state-of-the-art technologies and advances in dentistry. She takes personal pride in providing courteous and high quality professional treatment for all of her patients’ dental care needs.
Our dentists have served the residents of Brooklyn Heights, Fort Greene, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, DUMBO, and all of our other surrounding communities for years. They can be reached by phone, 718.246.5677 or at their office in 100 Pineapple Walk, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201. You can also book an appointment online.