It’s almost Halloween, and you’re probably geared up for all sorts of spooky stuff, like witches, goblins, ghosts and ghouls. There’s one thing, however, that’s scarier than all the rest: Halloween candy. We know what you’re thinking, “Halloween candy isn’t scary, SA Perio!” Maybe it isn’t by itself, but once those sugary treats enter your mouth, they create a phenomenon that is spookier than the most daunting haunted house. We promise, this isn’t a trick to scare you out of enjoying Halloween treats. We still want you to have fun this October 31st, so we’re going to help you to indulge responsibly using our list of treats ranked from spookiest to healthiest for your teeth and gums.
You’re sure to be quaking after you learn what this most dangerous of Halloween treats can do to your teeth and gums. Taffy, and other similar chewy sweets like bubble gum, gummy worms and marshmallows, are particularly dangerous for your teeth. These candies tend to get stuck in the nooks and crannies of your mouth and molars, sticking around to cause damage long after you’ve already chewed and swallowed. Because the candy’s sugary contents make a home in the corners of your mouth, the damage done by the sugar and resulting bacteria is astronomical. Do yourself a favor and avoid these treats this Halloween unless you want to visit your local pals here at San Antonio Periodontics and Implants!
This is probably devastating for the sour-candy lovers out there, but sour candies like Sour Patch Kids, War Heads and Sour Punch Straws are uniquely bad for your enamel and your overall dental health. Beyond the dangers presented by sugar content, sour candies contain these tiny crystals of tactic and citric acid which leach the minerals our of your teeth through a process called acid erosion. And if that isn’t bad enough, these crystals also grind down your enamel and leave your teeth vulnerable to cavities and gum erosion. Sour Patch Kids may be sour and sweet, but your enamel will be gone by the time they’re finished with you!
Coming in at number five for spookiest Halloween candy is the Jolly Rancher. These, and other hard candies like Jawbreakers, Life Savers and Lemon Heads, might not get stuck to your teeth the way chewy candy does, but they stay in your mouth longer, marinating your teeth in their sugary contents. Additionally, hard candies have the added potential to cause dental trauma such as chipping, cracking or fracturing teeth when you bite down into them. Keep your teeth and gums safe from these hard-headed menaces by choosing a different treat. Your molars will thank you for choosing wisely.
If you want to protect your teeth but still feel like being risky this Halloween, a treat with nuts in it is second best to actually healthy treats. The stickiness in candy is what increases your chance of cavities, so nutty candies, while providing protein and fiber, can help to break up the “stickiness” in the candy. Think of nutty treats as a type of faulty shield; you’ll be partially protected from the sugary menaces, but the nuts can only do so much. Be safe out there and just don’t eat sugary candies, but if you’re going to, at least protect yourself a little bit.
This treat is better by a wide margin than traditional milk chocolate. On top of fighting tooth decay by hardening tooth enamel, the compounds in dark chocolate’s cocoa beans have an antibacterial effect that fights plaque. However, look out for caramel- or other-sugar-filled dark chocolate treats, which can somewhat counteract the healthy effects of dark chocolate. But if you are going to eat caramel or the like, it is better that it’s accompanied by dark instead of milk chocolate. Be healthily spooky this Halloween by going over to the dark side of the chocolate family!
Whether it be gum, mints, candies or food, if its sweetened with xylitol, its safe for your teeth. Xylitol is a sugar substitute that is found in small amounts in fruits, vegetables and even in human metabolism! While xylitol provides a similar sweetness to traditional sugar, it contains 40% fewer calories. Additionally, xylitol is great for your teeth, boosting your health and preventing tooth decay. Here’s how it works: the oral bacteria that could potentially lead to gingivitis or periodontal disease feed on the glucose found in sugary foods, but xylitol doesn’t work for them. While the bacteria can still consume xylitol, they can no longer take in glucose after doing so. The bacterias’ energy-producing pathway becomes clogged, so to speak, and they end up subsequently starving to death. What’s more in the Halloween spirit than the death of harmful bacteria? Nothing! Boost your Halloween spirit and your dental health this October with the help of xylitol!
We know you used to groan at that neighborhood lady who put an apple in your trick-or-treat basket, but she was on the right track! Think about it: apples are healthy, good for your teeth and still provide the sweetness we all crave during this season. On top of being good for you, apples naturally scrub your teeth as you chomp into them, so even if you’re going to indulge this Halloween, at least finish out your night with a nice scrub from an apple. Just make sure to chop it into slices to avoid hurting your front teeth!
We hope you’re safe this Halloween and that you treat your teeth as well as we would. However, if the Halloween treats have already gotten to you and you’re experiencing resulting issues with gum disease, visit our website to get the help you need. There’s nothing spooky about asking for help, especially if you come to your local friends at San Antonio Periodontics and Implants. Have a Happy Halloween!
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