Happy Halloween From the Orthodontist!
Why is sugar so bad for our teeth?
Because harmful oral bacteria love to eat it, then excrete acid onto our teeth. Even though tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body, it is very vulnerable to erosion by acid. That’s why dentists and orthodontists aren’t huge fans of sour, sticky, and hard Halloween candies.
The Worst Candy for Our Braces
They’re especially bad for braces. One crunch down onto hard candy can be enough to pop off a bracket. Sticky candy can pull brackets off when it gets stuck to them, but even if it doesn’t, it’s pretty hard to remove from the brackets.
Is There Any Safe Candy?
So what’s the good news? Chocolate! It contains flavonoids and polyphenols — compounds that slow tooth decay, limit oral bacteria, and combat bad breath. However, the more sugar in the chocolate, the more it cancels out the benefits. That’s why dentists like dark chocolate best. Braces-wearers should hold off on the nuts, though, because they could pop off a bracket.
If it’s a candy sweetened by xylitol instead of sugar, it’s definitely better for our teeth. This sugar-free sweetener actually hurts harmful oral bacteria! Candies containing xylitol are far from the norm now, but maybe that will change in future Halloweens!