What are vampires most afraid of?
But with Halloween around the corner, it’s not just Dracula who should be worried. Americans eat about 25 pounds of candy every year, with a large amount of it happening on October 31st. With the money we spend on Halloween treats, you could choose between buying your own sports team or space shuttle or you could even remake the entire Pirates of the Carribean series two times over. (Anyone looking to dress up as Jack Sparrow?)
The good news is not all treats are the same when it comes to dental health. If you avoid these fiendish goodies and sink your fangs into more tooth-friendly options, you can spare yourself the nightmare of the dental chair this season!
Worst Halloween Treats for Your Teeth
Sure, it’s great to suck on something sweet as you while away the time at work or school, but think of hard candies like the joker and your teeth as Batman. Hard candies are bad for teeth because they take a long time to dissolve and give bacteria in your mouth more time to cause harmful acids.
Gummy worms make the list because they are acidic. When you eat sour snacks, acid builds up in your mouth and wears down the enamel on the outside of teeth, making them weaker to decay.
Starbursts are a big cavity culprit because they get stuck to teeth and keep sugar in your mouth longer. The more time your teeth spend in a sugar bath, the more likely you are to end up in the dentist’s chair.
This particular treat tricks a lot of people. Isn’t fruit good for your health overall? Yes, fresh fruit can be good for both your physical and dental health, but dried fruit is very sugary and sticky in the same way starburst are. Stick to fresh, less sweet fruits wherever possible.
Okay, this one’s not a candy, but it is a common treat year-round for kids and adults alike. Potato chips are a dental health no-no because they break down in your mouth and get stuck between teeth. The carbs in potato chips are similar to sugars and provide fuel for cavity-causing bacteria.
Bonus: Tooth-friendly(er) Halloween Treats
Let’s be honest. Anything that is sweet and has added sugar is not ideal for your teeth. However, there are some treat options that are much better choices than the goodies mentioned above.
Candy Bars with Nuts
There’s growing evidence that shows that dark chocolate, above 70% cocoa, hardens the coating on your teeth and has anti-bacterial qualities. Be sure to choose chocolate that has less than 8 grams of sugar per serving.
Nuts break up the overall stickiness of your goodies. Also, since they are crunchy, nuts give your teeth a micro scrubbing between brushes. Again, you want to pick treats that are low in added sugar.
Okay, this one’s a no-brainer. Sugar-free gum allows you to have a sweet flavor in your mouth without bacteria causing sugar bath. According to the American Dental Association, chewing sugar-free gum after a meal also helps to neutralize acid in your mouth.
Come October 31st, both kids and adults will indulge in their favorite Halloween treats. But if you limit the number of cavity-causing treats you eat and replace them with more tooth-friendly options, you can make sure your smile stays boo-tiful year-round. Have a Happy Halloween!
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