From chomping on chocolate bunnies to popping peeps, Easter offers some of the tastiest sweet treats all year. But not all candies are created equal, especially when it comes to preventing tooth decay.
Pediatric Dentist, Dr. Tansy Schoonmaker says that if you’re on the hunt for Easter candy this year, consider swapping out a few classic candies that are on the safer side.
Sticky sweets top the list of “bad” candies and can include gummy bears, fruit snacks, Oreo’s, Skittles and Airheads. Dr. Schoonmaker ads that while jelly beans are particularly popular this time of year, they can be some of the worst for your teeth. Sticky candy is difficult to remove and stays on the teeth longer, raising the risk of cavities, she adds.
Hard candies are another no-no. Lollipops may seem like a good idea but they’re not because they stay in your mouth longer adding to the mouth’s acidity, and creating a breeding ground for cavities, she says.
And while Sour Patch Kids may be a favorite for many, they’re not great for two reasons: they’re coated with sugar and very acidic. Sugar is already harmful to teeth but adding the acidity of the sour coating, creates an easy way for bacteria to attach to the teeth, she adds. These kinds of treats can cause double the damage, so Dr. Schoonmaker says to avoid them if you can. If that’s not possible, then brushing thirty minutes after eating them is optimal.
Believe it or not there are some sweet treats that aren’t so bad for you and while avoiding sweets all together is the safest bet for your teeth, it’s not realistic either. Dr. Schoonmaker suggests trying chocolate treats and even dark chocolate options because they contain less sugar. Reese’s Peanut Butter eggs or Hershey kisses are better options.
And candy with nuts are also better choice. The nuts can help break down the candy’s stickiness, decreasing the risk of cavities forming. The crunch of the nuts are also rich in protein and fiber and can help break up some of the plaque on your teeth.
Dr. Schoonmaker’s biggest piece of advice aside from cracking down on the candy though, isn’t about the sweet treat at all. If children do not snack often, she says that there is no food that’s really bad for their teeth. She adds that parents may not realize it, but a child’s dental health depends less on what they eat and more on how often they eat it.
Dr. Schoonmaker is one of the owner’s of Little Jaws Big Smiles in DeWitt. To learn more about how she can help your little one, or to schedule an appointment, visit LittleJawsBigSmiles.com.