Halloween is right around the corner, and children everywhere are dusting off their favorite pumpkin pails or pillow cases in anticipation of the candy they will collect. Interestingly enough, nearly 88% of parents admit to eating some of the candy their little "ghouls" and "goblins" bring home. No matter your age, if you are going to indulge in candy this Halloween, here are some things to remember...
1. Sugar-free candy/gum containing xylitol Sugar-free candy or gum containing an ingredient called xylitol may actually protect teeth by reducing acid-producing bacteria in the mouth. Xylitol also increases saliva flow, which rinses away excess sugars and acids.
2. Powdery candy (such as sugar straws) Powdery candy is definitely loaded with lots of sugar, but it dissolves quickly and doesn’t stick to the teeth. Sticky/chewy candy is much harder to remove from the surfaces of teeth.
3. Chocolate Chocolate dissolves rather quickly in the mouth and can be eaten quickly, decreasing the amount of time sugar stays in contact with teeth. Chocolates with caramel and/or nuts are more harmful for teeth than the plain variety.
4. Hard candy Hard candy is bad for teeth because it tends to be sucked for an extended period of time, meaning the sugar stays in contact with teeth longer. Biting down on hard candy can also chip or break teeth.
5. Chewy candy Chewy or sticky candy is probably the most damaging because of high sugar contact and prolonged amount of time stuck to teeth. Our saliva also has a much harder time breaking down this type of candy.