Happy Halloween From the Dentist!
WHY IS SUGAR so bad for our teeth? Because harmful oral bacteria love to eat it, then excrete acid onto our teeth. Even though tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body, it is very vulnerable to erosion by acid. That’s why dentists aren’t huge fans of sour, sticky, and hard Halloween candies.
The Worst Candy for Our Teeth
Hard candy is basically a slow sugar delivery system, bathing our teeth in sugar over time. Sticky candy brings the sugar directly to the bacteria on our teeth and gums. Sour candy eliminates the middleman by being acidic on its own!
Is There Any Mouth-Healthy Candy?
So what’s the good news? Chocolate! It contains flavonoids and polyphenols — compounds that slow tooth decay, limit oral bacteria, and combat bad breath. However, the more sugar in the chocolate, the more it cancels out the benefits. That’s why dentists like dark chocolate best.
If it’s a candy sweetened by xylitol instead of sugar, it’s definitely better for our teeth. This sugar-free sweetener actually hurts harmful oral bacteria! Candies containing xylitol are far from the norm now, but maybe that will change in future Halloweens!