Make sure your child brushes after eating candy to remove sugar from the mouth. This can help prevent cavities and the need for fillings. Be sure to take your child for regular exams and cleanings. If your child is due for a visit to the dentist, schedule an appointment with Drs. James and Samuel Owens at 918.455.7700 today.
Although lots of any type of candy is not good for anyone’s teeth, there are certain candies that will be kinder to your child’s oral health.
THREE BEST CANDIES
1. Dark chocolate. Cocoa is the best candy for your teeth by a wide margin. Chocolate may be more effective than fluoride at fighting tooth decay, according to several studies. Dark chocolate contains a compound that helps harden tooth enamel. Compounds in cocoa beans also have an antibacterial effect that fights plaque.
2. Sugarless gum and sugarless candies. Candies with stevia or candies made for diabetics are ideal. Sugar feeds bacteria and upsets the healthy ratios of pH and bacteria in the mouth, so a sugarless candy comes in as “second best” here. Always check the sugarless label to ensure that other bad chemicals which could be detrimental to health in another way are not present (e.g. chelators).
3. Candy bars with nuts. Provided your child doesn’t have a nut allergy, candy bars with a lot of nuts can break up the stickiness. The stickiness of candy increases the chance for cavities. Having nuts (with protein and fiber that nuts provide) can break up the sticky parts of the candy. Nuts can also break up some of the biofilm on the teeth.
THREE WORST CANDIES
1. Anything sticky. The stickier the candy, the worse it is — that’s Starburst, Jujubes, Tootsie Rolls, etc. The effects of these sticky candies will linger because they stick around, increasing the chance for a cavity. The same goes for dried fruit, which is just as bad for your teeth because of the stickiness and concentration of sugar. Stick to real fruit, which is far less concentrated in sugar and is packed with fiber and water that keep you full.
2. Lollipops. That’s because when it comes to how bad candy is for your teeth, frequency of exposure is more harmful than quantity. If you eat the candy quickly and brush your teeth, as far as your teeth go (not talking about blood glucose systems and the effect on the rest of the body), it’s much better than sucking on candy all day long, like in the case of a lollipop. Frequency of exposure increases the chance of harm to teeth. Another issue is that kids often get impatient and decide to bite the candy. That can lead to chipped or cracked teeth, severe pain, and an unplanned trip to the dentist’s office.
3. Gummy worms. They are the most acidic candy. Acid is bad for your teeth because it wears down the tooth enamel that protects the teeth. This makes it easier for teeth to become chipped or broken. Enamel also insulates the tooth. A lack of enamel can expose the nerves in your teeth, which are extremely sensitive to changes in temperature when eating or drinking.