Valentines Day is over but there is still that chocolate and candy lingering everywhere. If you’re like me and love a sweet treat on occasion, it’s nice to know which types of candy damage your teeth more than others.
In addition, there are several things you can do to minimize the impact of candy on your teeth. You can eat candy in moderation of course. Realistically, we aren’t always around our toothbrushes when eating candy. So, find some nearby water and rinse your mouth…the sooner the better. This will help neutralize the acid that comes from leaving sugar on your teeth.
The Worst Candy—–
Let’s get the worst candy out of the way first. I like to tell my young patients, “Sticky and sweet makes a yucky treat.”
Sticky/Sweet Candy: This type of candy is prone to get stuck in the small spaces/crevices of your teeth. It sticks around longer in your mouth which increases the likelihood for cavities. Even dried fruit falls into this category because of the high concentration of sugar it contains. Examples are: taffy, Gummy bears, jelly beans, Starburst, etc.
Sour Candy: This type of candy is one of my wife’s favorites, but one of the worst considering its high acid content. This can quickly erode your enamel away. Examples are: Sour Patch Kids, Warheads, etc.
Hard Candy: This type of candy generally lingers in your mouth for a longer period of time. The increased duration in your mouth is directly related to an increased cavity risk. Examples are: lollipops, Jolly Ranchers, etc.
The Best Candy—–
Of course it would be best not to eat any candy at all, but if you are going to partake, here are some options that are a little less risky than the candy above.
Dark Chocolate: This type of candy is by far the best option for your mouth. There is even some evidence to show that compounds in cocoa beans have the ability to fight plaque and harden tooth enamel! [a] Just remember that there is still sugar in most dark chocolate.
Sugarless gum/candy: Although I do not like most of the sugarless sweeteners out there for a variety of health reasons, I will say that this type of candy is not nearly as hard on your teeth. Xylitol and stevia are your best choices. Did you know that xylitol can actually prevent bacteria from sticking to your teeth? So xylitol gum is a great option for dislodging food particles between your teeth.