Did the Easter Bunny bring you an abundance of candy? If so, you’re not alone. Easter is the second biggest candy holiday, right there next to Halloween. This year, Americans were predicted to spend $2.6 billion on Easter candy, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual Easter survey.
So what to do now with all that candy? If you are worried about your teeth, keep in mind that you do not have to eat it all! It’s ok to keep some of your favorites and toss the rest. You are making a decision to protect your teeth and your overall health, too.
The type of candy you eat also matters. Dentists agree that certain candies are less harmful to teeth than others. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind as you go through your Easter candy stash:
What to Keep
Dark chocolate, nuts, sugar-free treats. Some good choices include:
Hollow dark chocolate eggs or bunnies
Chocolate-covered almonds or peanuts
Candies or gum made with xylitol
Studies have shown that compounds found in dark chocolate might help fight bacteria and cavities. (The same is not true for milk chocolate, however, because of its higher sugar content.) Nuts have many nutritional benefits, and they also act as a “scrubber” on the teeth to help scrape away sugar. And the sweetener xylitol has been shown in studies to help reduce the risk of tooth decay.
“Nuts have many nutritional benefits, and they also act as a “scrubber” on the teeth
to help scrape away sugar.”
What to Avoid
Candy that is chewy, sticky, hard, or sour, such as:
Eggs with filling, such as Cadbury Eggs
Sour gummy candy
Chewy, sticky and gummy candies are more difficult for saliva to remove and therefore tend to “stick around” on the teeth. They are also more apt to settle into crevices where a toothbrush might not easily reach. Hard candies take longer to eat, which means that the sugar stays in the mouth for a longer period of time. Candy with a hard, crunchy shell can damage the teeth or fillings. And sour candy contains a lot of acid, which wears down enamel.
No matter what candy you eat, you can minimize its impact on your teeth by drinking lots of water to stimulate saliva production, which will help wash away acid and sugar. Consider also counterbalancing the sugary treats with crunchy fruits and vegetables such as carrot sticks, celery and apple slices. Eating these foods after you eat candy will actually help clean your teeth, similar to the effect of a toothbrush.
“No matter what candy you eat, you can minimize its impact on your teeth by drinking lots of water to stimulate saliva production, which will help wash away acid and sugar.”
Finally, if you are due for a dental check-up and cleaning, the post-Easter sugar influx serves as a great reminder to make that appointment. Make your appointment today!