How to Avoid Halloween Candy and Protect Your Teeth
It's everywhere right now—aisles and aisles of Halloween candy in every variety, shape, and size.
Kids (and many adults!) will consume about three cups of sugar on average this Halloween. However, it isn't just the day of Halloween you have to worry about. For a month leading up to and the days following, those dishes of Halloween candy are everywhere.
Besides being problematic from a health standpoint, large amounts of sugar can have seriously detrimental effects on your teeth. Lucky for you, we have a guide to the best and worst Halloween candies and how you can minimize the amount of sugar your teeth are chomping into this Halloween season.
1. Don't Buy Candy Until the Night Before
Many people stock up on candy the moment it comes out in stores in preparation for the parade of little ghouls who will arrive at their door Halloween night. The problem is that most stores line their shelves with Halloween candy at least a month ahead of time. Unless you use some serious restraint, you'll definitely dig into that stash well before the night arrives.
Once that bag is open, all bets are off. You'll likely finish it off and return to buy more for the “trick or treaters”. Don't buy candy until a day or two before Halloween, and you won't have it available to munch on when those sugar cravings hit.
2. Don't Keep a Candy Jar Close to You
Plates of cookies and jars of candy make their appearance at work and other public stores around the Holidays, starting at Halloween. Don't be the person who has that jar sitting on your desk. The close proximity means you'll likely be consuming it, along with others. If you must have a candy jar close to you, fill it with candy you don't like so you won't be tempted to dig your hand into it!
3. Pick Your Poison
Remember when you were a kid, and you'd return from your mad dash through the neighborhood to empty your pillowcase and sort your collection of treats?
It’s a good idea to sort through the candy you have available to you and make a pile of the treats you love, the treats you like, and the treats you don't like. By only eating candy you love instead of mindlessly consuming it all, you'll save yourself a ton of added sugar.
4. Practice Mindfulness
It's easy to lose track of how many candy bars you've consumed. In order to keep track of exactly how much you're eating, it is a good idea to keep the candy wrappers in front of you. When you're faced with the evidence of exactly how many pieces of candy you've consumed, you'll be more hesitant before picking up another one.
It is also wise to not eat candy while doing other tasks. It makes it too easy to mindlessly consume more sugar than you're aware of. You might try selecting a few pieces of candy and savor them as you eat them, noting the texture and taste of each. When you take a moment to savor the treat, it often helps you feel satisfied with less.
Finally, think about what you're eating before you consume it. Instead of grabbing a piece of candy the moment you think about it, wait a few minutes and decide whether you really want or need it. There is a higher probability that you may decide to move on.
5. Don't Skip Meals to Save Calories
It is common for people to skip a meal in order to make up for the calories they've consumed in candy. However, this is the worst possible thing you can do to avoid further binges. If you're hungry and lacking the necessary carbs you need to keep running, you're more likely to dive back into the candy dish to consume that quick dose of sugar your body is craving.
It is important to keep your meals scheduled and nutritious, with plenty of healthy carbs, to avoid the sugary foods that can run a diet completely off track.
6. Keep Your Mouth Busy
If your mouth is already busy, it won't have time to consume more M&Ms! Keep sugar-free gum handy and pop a stick in when the sugar cravings strike. You'll fool your body into thinking it's receiving a sweet treat while saving yourself the excess sugar calories.
7. Make the Healthiest Choices Possible
It's almost impossible to not indulge in at least one or two sweet treats through the Halloween season, so knowing the best and worst candies can help save you from the worst of it. Where your teeth are concerned, there is definitely certain candy that is much worse than others.
The Best and Worst Halloween Candy
If you're going to go on a candy consumption binge, minimize the damage by choosing options that aren't as harmful to your teeth. Here's a list of a few types of candy that will make your dentist cringe.
Candies like taffy, caramels, and gummies tend to linger in your teeth, extending the time the sugar is on them. Sugar is the most prominent cause of tooth enamel decay, so choosing candy options that don't stay on teeth can help reduce the damage. These are also the worst offenders for pulling out fillings and braces!
Sour candies don't just contain sugar; they are also acidic, doubling the tooth decaying factor. It is important to stay away from sour and citrus-base candies to avoid this sugar/acid combination.
In addition to containing high doses of sugar, hard candies also have another danger lurking behind their sweet facades. Hard candies, including suckers and jawbreaker style treats, are capable of actually breaking teeth! They also remain in your mouth longer, as you suck them, meaning your teeth are exposed to sugar for extended periods of time.
If you feel the need to munch on some Halloween treats, your best bet is eating chocolate-based candies. Chocolate candy is quickly broken down by saliva, doesn’t linger in the mouth, and some dark varieties can even have health benefits!
Protect Your Teeth This Halloween
Halloween doesn't have to mean a sugar binge. It is a good idea to follow these tips to keep the amount of sugar you're putting in your mouth to a minimum, and be sure to make healthier choices for your teeth if you have a craving for Halloween candy.
If necessary, feel free to contact us today to help repair the damage that sugar leaves behind and keep your smile bright and happy!