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During the week of Halloween, Americans consume a shocking 90 million pounds of candy. The reason candy is harmful to your teeth is that bacteria in the mouth burn the sugar, which creates an acid. The acid then dissolves tooth enamel, which is the cause of cavities. Read on for the best and worst candies.

The Bad Candy:

  • Chewy candy – These are one of the worst candies to eat for your teeth. Because of their stickiness, the sugar often lingers and sticks around in your mouth, which gives them more time to cause tooth decay. On top of that, some candies are sticky enough to pull out a filling, bridge or braces bracket.
  • Sour and citrus candy – These candies not only contain high levels of sugar, they also contain acid, which can eat away at the enamel of the teeth, leaving them even more vulnerable to cavities.
  • Hard candy – Eating hard candy can cause your teeth to crack or break and should be avoided. Also, hard candies stick around in your mouth for longer and expose your teeth to the sugars for a longer period. This is a recipe for cavities as extended contact with sugar can weaken and destroy the enamel.

The Good Candy:

  • Milk chocolate – Chocolate is one of the safest bets when it comes to consuming candy. This is good news as Americans spend $1.9 billion on chocolate each Halloween. The reason chocolate is a safer option is that it washes off your teeth more easily than other types of candy, making it less destructive to the enamel.
  • Dark chocolate – This is an even healthier option than milk chocolate as it contains less sugar. It also contains a flavonoid called epicatechin, which has been shown to slow tooth decay and also reduce cholesterol. Dark chocolate also contains polyphenols, which are naturally occurring chemicals that help control bad breath.
  • Sugar-free gum – Chewing gum assists in increasing the flow of saliva, which washes away food particles and neutralizes the acids in your mouth. Opt for a sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol. When xylitol is present, bacteria loses the ability to stick to the tooth, restricting cavities from forming.

For Halloween this year, you don’t have to avoid candy altogether; just try to stick with chocolate and avoid hard, sour or chewy candies. Remember to brush your teeth twice a day, and remember to clean between your teeth with floss to keep your enamel strong and your mouth healthy.