© jeff_golden / Flickr
By Sasha Emmons
We're so excited it's only a little more than a month until Halloween. Your dentist? No so much.
Trick-or-treating's candy haul is pretty much a dentistry fright fest. But are some sweets worse than others for your teeth? New York City dentist Dr. Timothy Chase of Smiles NY shares the worst and (relative) best candies for your kid's teeth.
WORST: Taffy and candies filled with caramel, coconut, or nuts are the worst kinds of candy for teeth because they stick to everything inside of your mouth, including the grooves of your teeth. The longer a food sticks to your teeth, the longer bacteria can feed on it--which could produce cavity-causing acid.
SECOND WORST: Hard candy like lollipops or jawbreakers, are almost as bad. Although they do not stick to your mouth, they take a long time to dissolve. The longer a food stays in your mouth, the more acidic your mouth becomes.
PRETTY BAD: Sour candy is also bad for your teeth because it has a higher acidic content, which can break down tooth enamel. While powdery candy such as Pixie Stix dissolve quickly in the mouth and don't require chewing, they contain nothing but sugar and can lead to cavities by changing the mouth's PH and giving bacteria straight sugar to eat.
NOT SO BAD: Chocolate, with no sticky fillings, will generally not stick to your teeth and therefore is a much better option if you're craving something sweet.
BEST: Sugar-free gum may be the best treat this Halloween season because it leaves no sticky residue, and it is sweetened with xylitol--a natural sugar the bacteria is unable to form plaque on.
Which kind of candy are you giving out this year?
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