With Halloween right around the corner, it is that time of the year again: scares and thrills around every corner. Children are scared of scary movies, ghost stories, and scary costumes, and parents are scared of all the candy their kids will bring home. Tiny candies in the doctor’s office or the workplace start to pop up and we cannot help but indulge ourselves in these sugary treats. There is nothing wrong with a few indulgences, however, not all Halloween candy is created equally. When it comes to healthy teeth, certain candies can be completely detrimental to your smile, while others are less of a threat. According to Dr. Timothy Chase, a 20-year veteran of cosmetic dentistry, a healthy smile, white teeth and healthy gums can take 10 years off your appearance.
Dr. Chase, D.M.D., is a practicing partner in SmilesNY, a leading cosmetic dentistry practice in New York City. He has made it his life’s work to educate patients about the significance of possessing a healthy smile as a critical indicator of overall health and wellness.
“Some people do not realize how important it can be to take care of your teeth,” says Dr. Chase. “Not only does a healthy smile make you look and feel better, but, dental health issues have been linked to systemic problems like heart and kidney issues and low birth weight in babies.”
Brushing and flossing are not always enough to keep your teeth healthy. What you eat and what you do not eat can be a huge factor in how healthy your teeth are. Keep your teeth in mind this Halloween season with Dr. Chase’s tips on best and worst Halloween candies to eat:
Candies Ranging from Worst to not so bad in terms of teeth health:
• Taffy and candies filled with caramel, coconut, or nuts are the worst kinds of candy for teeth because they stick to everything inside of your mouth, including the grooves of your teeth. The longer a food sticks to your teeth, the longer bacteria can feed on it – which could produce cavity-causing acid.
• Hard candy such as lollipops or jawbreakers, are the second worst candies to be munching on. Although they do not stick to your mouth, they take a long time to dissolve. The longer a food stays in your mouth, the more acidic the environment becomes.
• Sour candy is also bad for your teeth because it has a higher acidic content, which can break down tooth enamel.
• While Powdery Candy such as Pixie Stix dissolve quickly in the mouth and don’t require chewing, they contain nothing but sugar and can lead to cavities by changing the mouths PH and giving bacteria straight sugar to eat.
• Chocolate, with no sticky fillings, will generally not stick to your teeth and therefore it is a much better option if you have the urge for a sweet snack.
• Sugar-free gum may be the best treat this Halloween season because it leaves no sticky residue, which causes plaque, and it is sweetened with xylitol – a natural sugar the bacteria is unable to form plaque on.
• Of course….If possible it would be much better to put down the candy and grab a piece of fruit.
“Brightening your appearance by creating a healthy smile is not as daunting a task as people think,” says Chase. “It is an extremely important factor in one’s overall health and it should not be overlooked.”
The primary service offered by Dr. Chase and his colleagues is Smile Design, an array of preventative and restorative services including: teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, invisible braces, cosmetic bonding, tooth colored fillings, porcelain crowns, bridges, dental implants, periodontal services, full-mouth restoration, TMJ therapy and sports dentistry.
Dr. Chase attended the State University of Albany where he studied biology. Continuing his education at the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine, he earned a DMD degree in 1993. He went on to complete a general practice residency at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital / Westchester County Veterans Administration Hospital in 1994.
Dr. Chase served as a clinical instructor at the New York University Dental School. He stays abreast of the latest techniques and materials being utilized in his specialties by attending advanced education seminars at the Dawson Center for Advanced Dental Study and is a member of the faculty study group at the Scottsdale Center for Dentistry. In addition, he attends local dental study groups including those conducted at a New York chapter of the Seattle Study Club. He is a member of the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
Photo credits Halloween Candy by Candy Warehouse on Flickr