Until celery sticks start to taste like sugar, we’re all going to give in to our candy cravings from time to time.
While no candy is a great candy when it comes to oral health (with one yummy exception you’ll read about below), there are choices people can make for their “sweet tooth” that are better than others.
3 Worst Treats for the Teeth
1. Sour Candies
Sour patch kids, we’re talking to you! The high acid content in sour candies breaks down tooth enamel at lightning speed.
Here’s a tip most dental patients don’t know: rather than brush right away after eating sour candies or indulging in other acidic food and drink, it’s best to wait 30 minutes to brush, as brushing right away can increase the erosive effect of the acid.
2. Sticky Candies
Think Jolly Ranchers, Tootsie Rolls, Dots, Airheads, and every kid’s favorite: gummy bears and gummy worms.
These sticky candies like to hide in the crevices of the teeth where saliva has a hard time washing them away. That’s why, unless the person is flossing right after indulging in a sticky sweet, tooth decay is likely to occur.
Sure, these small little candies may be fun to give to the kids, and low in sugar versus other candy. Yet, the time it takes to suck on lollipops can mean a steady barrage of sugar assaulting the teeth.
If lollipops are given as treats, smaller ones are best to minimize damage to the teeth.
3 Best Treats for the Teeth
1. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate lovers, start celebrating! Dark chocolate with 70% cocoa can actually fight tooth decay even better than fluoride, according to a study by Tulane University scientists.
An alkaloid in chocolate called theobromine was shown to remineralize enamel at a greater rate than fluoride.
Additionally, chocolate is a great source of polyphenols, natural organic chemicals that limit oral bacteria and neutralize the microorganisms that cause bad breath.
While the world may not be ready for chocolate toothpaste (yet), they can now enjoy dark chocolate with less of the guilt … in moderation, of course!
Dental Pro Tip: Put a piece of dark chocolate into your patients’ take-home goody bags … they’ll love the gesture!
2. Candy Bars with Nuts
As dental pros know, it’s the stickiness of candy that’s the biggest threat to oral health. While candy bars with nuts still contain sugar, they’re a better choice than their non-nut counterparts.
This is due to their ability to combat the stickiness and break up some of the plaque on the teeth.
3. Sugar-Free Hard Candies
Sugar breeds bacteria in the mouth, making sugar-free candies an appealing alternative for both diabetics and people trying to cut back on sugar.
Sucking on sugar-free candies, like those sweetened with stevia, can increase salivary flow. A mouth that is rich in saliva can naturally fight bacteria and bad breath.
Let’s Talk Candy.
We want to hear from you! What candy do you find IMPOSSIBLE to resist? Share below.