Say what?! Best candy for teeth?! Is there such a thing? You bet. Fact: Your kids love Halloween. Fact: They want to go trick-or-treating. Fact: You’re going to let them (or suffer the consequences of whiny kids from now until next Halloween). Fact: They’re going to get lots and lots (and lots) of sweet, sugary, sticky, ooey, gooey candies. So, what can you, as a parent, do about all these facts? Do you put your foot down and forbid your kids from going trick-or-treating? Not likely. Or, do you just throw in the towel and let ’em have at it? Of course not. Believe it or not, there is some middle ground here. Not all of your kids’ Halloween treats are ghoulish on their teeth. In fact, some of it isn’t so bad at all, and some is actually good. Here are some dental health tips about the best types of candy for teeth that can help parents sift through all the scary information about the effects of Halloween candy on their kids’ teeth.
Sugarless candies and gum
If you mention the word ‘sugarless’ to your kids, especially at Halloween, you’re likely to hear as many groans as a Frankenstein movie. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, many of today’s sugarless candies taste as good or even better than their counterparts that are loaded with refined sugars and corn syrups. Many candies, such as those made with natural sweeteners like Stevia, are sure to please your child’s sweet tooth. And, because they’re not the bacteria producers that candies made with refined sugars are, they’ll bring smiles to the faces of parents on Halloween, too.
You’ve probably heard it a lot recently, and it’s true… dark chocolate really is good for you (especially if it’s made with natural sweeteners). Now, this will probably come as a surprise, so brace yourself… some of the natural components found in cocoa beans are actually antibacterial! Additionally, because dark chocolate is loaded with vital antioxidants, eating dark chocolate can actually help improve the health of your kids’ teeth. If they’re going to eat candy, you can’t beat letting them have a little dark chocolate now and then.
Nuts and candies with nuts
Nuts are a great source of nutrients, and that makes them great not just for their bodies, but also for your kids’ teeth. So, helping your kids choose either nuts as snacks or candy bars that are packed with nuts is a healthy thing for their teeth as well as their growing bodies. One of the reasons candy bars with nuts are better for teeth than just about any other sweets is because the nuts help to break up the effects of the sugars.
The monsters of Halloween candy
By the same token, there are an awful lot of candies out there that are just plain ghastly for teeth. Topping the list of trick-or-treat terrors is any snack that’s sticky and gooey, such as gummy worms, caramels, and believe it or not, even dried fruits. Yes, you read that right… dried fruits. Though they may have some nutritional value to them, dried fruits are ooey and sticky, making them as bad for teeth as many of the gooey candies. In fact, many dried fruits also are loaded with refined sugars. Many dentists would consider these types of snacks to be phantom teeth killers. Why? Because snacks such as dried fruits only seem like they’re okay for teeth, but they’re just as bad as many sugary candies.
Charlie Brown’s sister said it best, “Tricks or treats come but once a year.” Poor little Sally Brown… she misses it every year. But your kids don’t have to. As a parent, you enjoy watching your children find the answer to that yearly question, “What are you going to be for Halloween?” You love getting involved in their decision, and you love helping them find that ideal costume that’ll make the other kids say, “Cool!” What you don’t love is watching them bring home all that candy that, to you, really just looks like a pillow case full of cavities. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about every piece of candy they put in their mouths. There are some candies that are actually good for teeth. And there are others that aren’t nearly as bad as you once thought. Simply learning the difference between the good guys and the bad guys (and those that lie somewhere in between) can give you, as a parent, a little more peace of mind at Halloween. Hey… think of it this way… at least your kid isn’t like Charlie Brown. Imagine what a bag full of rocks could do to their teeth!