Dentists: Some candies better than others

Oct. 16, 2012 at 4:18 PM
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CHICAGO, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Some parents may think dentists say all Halloween candy is bad for children's teeth but U.S. dentists say some sweets are much worse than others.

Cynthia Sherwood, a dentist and spokeswoman for the Academy of General Dentistry, said dentists want parents and children to know that there are both good and bad candy options.

"We want to clarify for parents which treats are better for their kids' teeth and which ones may increase the risk of developing cavities," Sherwood said in a statement.

"Chewy/sticky sweets, such as gummy candies, taffy, and even dried fruit are a serious source of tooth decay, particularly when they get stuck in the crevices between teeth, making it nearly impossible for saliva to wash them away," Sherwood said in a statement.

"Sour candies are highly acidic and can break down tooth enamel quickly, but saliva slowly helps to restore the natural balance of the acid in the mouth."

Sherwood recommended people wait 30 minutes to brush their teeth after consuming sour/acidic candies. Brushing too early will spread the acid onto more tooth surfaces and increase the risk of enamel erosion.

Candy corn, cookies and cake all contain high amounts of sugar, which can also cause tooth decay, but dark chocolate helps prevent tooth decay by reducing the growth of plaque because the oxalic acid in chocolate appears to lower acid production, Sherwood said.

A sugar-free lollipop and hard candy stimulate saliva can help prevent dry mouth.

"A dry mouth allows plaque to build up on teeth faster, leading to an increased risk of cavities," Sherwood said.

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