With Halloween just around the corner and candy consumption is almost unavoidable as a result, the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) is offering recommendations on good and bad candy options.
Chewy/sticky sweets, such as gummy candies, taffy, and even dried fruit, can be difficult for children and adults to resist and even more difficult to remove from teeth. "These candies are a serious source of tooth decay, particularly when they get stuck in the crevices between teeth, making it nearly impossible for saliva to wash them away," said AGD spokesperson Cynthia Sherwood, DDS, FAGD.
Sour candies are highly acidic and can break down tooth enamel quickly. The good news: Saliva slowly helps to restore the natural balance of the acid in the mouth. Dr. Sherwood recommends that patients wait 30 minutes to brush their teeth after consuming sour/acidic candies; otherwise, they will be brushing the acid onto more tooth surfaces and increasing the risk of enamel erosion.
Sugary snacks, including candy corn, cookies, and cake, all contain high amounts of sugar, which can cause tooth decay.
Sugar-free lollipops and hard candies stimulate saliva, which can help prevent dry mouth. "A dry mouth allows plaque to build up on teeth faster, leading to an increased risk of cavities," Dr. Sherwood said.
Sugar-free gum can actually prevent cavities as it dislodges food particles from between the teeth and also increases saliva, which works to neutralize the acids of the mouth and prevent tooth decay.
Dark chocolate and its antioxidants can be good for the heart and may even lower blood pressure.