Halloween is right around the corner, and many kids are looking forward to lugging around a bag filled with sweet treats. While the children may be smiling, dentists across New Jersey and Connecticut will be cringing!
To keep your child from waking up with an aching tooth instead of an aching tummy, limit your children’s intake to sweet treats that do the least damage. Below are Delta Dental of New Jersey’s picks on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being least harmful and 5 being the most harmful to teeth.
1. Sugar-free candy and gum with xylitol Sugar-free foods don’t contain sugar that can feed on the bacteria in the mouth and produce decay-causing acids. Gum and candy with xylitol may actually protect teeth by reducing the acids produced by bacteria and increasing saliva to rinse away excess sugars and acids.
2. Powdery candy (such as sugar straws)
Sure, powdery candy is packed with pure sugar. But powdery candy dissolves quickly and doesn’t stick to the teeth.
3. Chocolate (such as candy bars)
Chocolate dissolves quickly in the mouth and can be eaten easily, which decreases the amount of time sugar stays in contact with teeth. And calcium could help protect tooth enamel. However, chocolate with fillings, such as caramel and nuts, is a lot more harmful for teeth than the plain variety.
4. Hard candy (such as lollipops or mints)
Hard candy is tough on teeth because it tends to be sucked on at a leisurely pace for an extended period of time. Plus, chomping down on hard candy can chip or break teeth.
5. Chewy candy (such as caramels or gummies)
Chewy, sticky treats are particularly damaging because they are high in sugar, spend a prolonged amount of time stuck to teeth and are more difficult for saliva to break down.
And remember, have your child brush after each candy splurge!
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