Cavities are a prevalent issue for Americans — about 91% of American adults between ages 20–64 had dental cavities in 2011–2010.
And the main culprit of cavities: sugar. When you eat sugary foods, the sugar interacts with the bacteria in plaque to produce acid. This acid then dissolves your tooth enamel and creates cavities.
Although candy isn’t good for your teeth, not all candy is created equal. Some types of candy are far worse for your teeth than others.
Here’s a list of candy for you (and your kids) to try to avoid this Halloween to keep your teeth healthy.
Caramel and other sticky stuff
Caramel is sticky, which means it clings onto your teeth on stays there for longer than other types of candy.
This allows sugar and bacteria to more easily break down tooth enamel than other candy, leading to cavities.
Sticky candy like gummies gets stuck in the grooves of your teeth, giving bacteria more time to carve out cavities.
Hard candy sits in your mouth for a longer period of time than other candies.
This means your teeth are exposed to sugar and cavity-causing acids for a longer period of time when you suck on a hard candy.
Beyond the longer exposure to sugar, hard candy can break your tooth if you try to bite down or chew on it.
Sour candy is acidic, which weakens your tooth enamel and increases your risk of cavities.
Since many sour candies are either chewy gummies or hard candies, you have to add in the extra cavity-causing properties of these textures too.
Powdery candy is one of the worst cavity-culprits at Halloween. Since powdery candy is just a mouthful of sugar, bacteria have a heyday with this stuff.
Although sugar is a supervillain when it comes to giving you cavities, tooth decay can be attributed to more than candy.