Candy is often the go-to treat for kids and adults alike. However, not all candy is created equal! Candy can be a healthy treat if you pick the right one. But if you choose a candy that’s high in sugar and artificial coloring, it could cause tooth decay, cavities, and other oral health problems.
To help you make the best choices for your child’s teeth, we’ve put together a list of the best and worst candies for kids.
Top candy-related culprits of cavities
- Candy corn is the most common cavity-causing treat. It’s a mixture of sugar and starch that your child can easily bite into, exposing his or her teeth to both the physical damage of chewing and the bacterial attack that occurs when food contains carbohydrates.
- Gumdrops are also popular with children, but they too cause tooth decay because they contain as much sugar as a chocolate bar. Gumdrop wrappers can also be sticky, so it’s best to keep them out of reach until after dinner or bedtime—or better yet, don’t let your kids eat them at all!
- Gummy bears are another sweet treat that can wreak havoc on your child’s teeth if eaten in large amounts over an extended period of time (think Halloween). These sweets stick around for a long time in the mouth since kids tend to hold them in place with their tongues while chewing them up. If you do decide to give your kid gummy bears occasionally (or if you have little ones who love consuming these treats), make sure they brush their teeth well afterward so no sticky residue remains behind on their teeth overnight!
The Best Candies for Kids:
Chewy Fruit Snacks: These are a great choice because they contain no added sugars, artificial flavors, or colors — just real fruit juice. They come in fun shapes like stars, hearts, and butterflies that kids will love to eat.
Juicy Gels: Juicy Gels are soft gels made with real fruit juice that dissolve quickly in your mouth without any chewing needed! Plus, they come in an assortment of flavors like grape and orange, so there’s something for everyone. Best of all? They’re available at most grocery stores nationwide!
The hard and chewy facts
Hard candies like lollipops, caramels, and toffee are a definite no-no. You’re better off giving your child chewy candies such as gummies or jellybeans. These types of candy are less likely to cause cavities because they don’t stay in your child’s mouth for long periods of time—they dissolve quickly. If you’re concerned about sugar intake, opt for sugarless hard candies (like sugar-free lollipops).
The sticky truth
It’s not just the type of candy but how often your child eats it that can make a difference for their teeth.
Sticky candies, like gummy bears and lollipops, are the worst for your kids because they are sticky and tend to stick to teeth longer than other types of candy. Sticky candies also require more time to chew than hard candies or sugar-free options, which means more opportunities for bacteria to cling onto those pearly whites! Going to the dentist is mandatory to prevent dental problems. It is best for the child to visit a recognized dental clinic at least once every six months.
Sticky candies are also the “worst” because they stick to teeth and retain bacteria longer than other types of candy
This can cause cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. Sticky candy is more likely than others to cause bad breath—and a mouth full of bacteria!
If you love sweet treats, consider buying hard candies instead of sticky ones. Hard candies don’t stick around as long on your teeth or in your mouth, so they don’t get stuck between your teeth, where they can cause problems like cavities and tooth decay.
Sugar VS sugar-free
The main difference between sugar-free and sugar-containing candies is that the former has a low or no sugar level. This means they won’t cause tooth decay or cavities, right? WRONG. While these treats may not have any white grains of sugar lurking in them, they can still cause dental problems if you eat enough at once.
As a parent, you can take steps to protect your child’s teeth
- Check the ingredients. Look on the food label to see if there are any surprises lurking in the candy you’re about to give your kids, such as artificial coloring or high amounts of sugar.
- Make sure your child brushes and flosses after eating candy, even if it’s just one piece.
- Limit the amount of candy your child eats at one time. If they insist on having more than two pieces at once, suggest they split them up into small servings throughout the day instead of eating them all at once (or all in one sitting).
- Consider alternatives like healthy snacks like fruits or vegetables instead of a bag full of sugar-packed candies!
And remember—no matter what kind of candy you give out, regular brushing and flossing will help keep your child’s teeth nice and clean!