Which holiday sweet treats should we limit?

The holidays can be filled with sweet treats, but are there some sweets that we should try to limit?

Dr. John Culp’s answer: Yes, there are many sweets that we should try to limit or even avoid for the sake of our teeth!

Sticky and gummy candies are considered the worst candies for your teeth by the American Dental Association. These candies easily stick to the small grooves of teeth and can stay lodged for long periods of time. Basically, they become “sugar sealants”. This can allow the bacteria in your mouth to produce more acid that can weaken your enamel. So, be picky when it comes to sticky!

Hard candies are another choice that you should reconsider. Chewing on hard candies can be similar to chewing on rocks – which can lead to broken teeth or the destruction of dental work. And if you want to keep those sealants on to protect your molars, do not chew on hard candies. Rather than crunching on hard candies, some people like to keep hard candy in their mouth for a long period of time. Allowing candy to dissolve in your mouth mixes with your saliva, creating a sugar bath for your teeth – yuck!

Sour candies, whether sticky or hard, are very acidic. The acidity from these candies can weaken the enamel of the teeth, making them vulnerable to cavities. Again, not the best choice for our teeth.

Chocolate is very popular around the holidays, and is the best choice to give to your child. Chocolate easily rinses off the teeth and doesn’t stick in the grooves like other candies do (just be aware of chocolates that contain caramel).

No matter how hard we try, we can’t completely avoid candy and sweets this time of year. Dr. Culp recommends encouraging your child to maintain good oral hygiene after enjoying any sweets. Thoroughly brushing after a treat will help to keep our teeth strong and healthy.

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