Top 5 candies to avoid this Halloween

By - Bad Breath Expert

SUMMARY:  Avoid a spooky smile from Halloween candies. Read which snacks are the most terrifying.

Posted: October 3, 2013

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It's October and that means we've officially arrived at the month of spooks and scares! Whether you have trick-or-treaters in the house or not, we all start allowing ourselves a candy bar (or three) until right around midnight on Halloween. We buy candies for our neighbors, snack on the fun-sized treasures that our kids bring home and take a chocolate respite in the break room at work. But let's face it, come November, no one wants a ghoulish grin. 

Candies can cause serious damage to the oral health of both you and your kids. Primarily, the sugar treats target tooth enamel. You've heard your dentist mention it, but what is tooth enamel exactly? It's the protective outer layer that covers your teeth. Yet when you're constantly snacking on candies, the sugars begin to erode the coating, and can lead to tooth decay and cavities. What's worse, tooth enamel damage is permanent; you can't replace it. So be sure to take good care of your chompers, because they're for life!

Here's a list of the top five candies to avoid this Halloween to maintain a healthy mouth that won't scare people away:

1. Caramel 
This sticky substance leeches onto teeth long past the moment we munch on it. The sugars are bad for you, but that's not the whole equation - the more time it spends on your molars and pearly whites the more the sugars can wear down teeth enamel. The saliva in our mouths is not strong enough to wash it down either, so caramel eventually leads to tooth decay. What does that mean for you? Steer clear of this gooey substance, whether plain, in the centers of chocolate or caramel apples (no, the apple is not compensation).

2. Gummy treats
Gummy bears, worms or octopi - whatever animal shape they come in, they are equally awful for your mouth. These things are packed with enough high fructose corn syrup to take down a mammoth. The sweetener acts as an alternative to sugar, and is often considered worse than its natural counterpart. Moreover, another ingredient, gelatin, gets stuck between teeth and in the ridges of your mouth, making it difficult to clean. They are a sure-fire step toward cavities as well. Need another reason to quit eating gummy candies? Gelatin is made from boiling the skin, bones and cartilage of animals. There you have it. 

3. Sour candy
The high amounts of citric, malic and fumaric acids in sour candy make them a truly nightmarish snack. These acids soften and can actually diminish the size of your teeth. Scarier yet, the pH level, or measure of acidity, shows levels nearing battery acid. 

"Citric acid is the worst acid for your teeth," notes Martha Keels, DDS, chief of pediatric dentistry at Duke's Children Hospital. "We're seeing acid erosion every day."

4. Carbonated soft drinks
It's no surprise that soda has extremely detrimental effects on your teeth and the oral health of your kids. On average, a 12-ounce can holds 11 teaspoons of sugar. Similar to sour candies, soft beverages are swimming with acids that cause tooth decay and erosion. "Sip all day, get decay," is the motto. By drinking regularly and skipping brushing and dental visits, you're as sure to get cavities as a kid on your block is to dress up as Superman. Carbonated soft drinks are the obvious villain.

5. Lollipops and suckers
These treats are mainly sugar, loud and plain. The longer you spend licking away, the more the sugar accumulates on your tongue and teeth, which provides a breeding ground for bacteria. 

Halloween Quick Tips
- Brush and floss thoroughly twice a day. Get all the caramel, sugars and gelatin out from between your teeth and your tongue.

- Visit your dentist regularly to prevent the need for cavity treatments.

- Limit yourself to one candy bar each day.

- Hide the food from yourself. It follows the "out of sight, out of mind" idea. When it's not mocking you from the kitchen counter, the less likely you are to indulge.

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