Knowing that a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup takes 734 jumping jacks to burn off may not really phase you, or prevent you from reaching for another. But maybe knowing that those little fun-size treats really do a number on your dental health might make you think twice.
Dr. Holly Halliday, a periodontist, and Dr. Gabriel Mannarino, a dentist, both from Williston Dental Team told POPSUGAR that it's "the most cariogenic foods (ie. the most likely to cause cavities) are the sticky ones." Here's their list of sticky candies from worst to least harmful:
- Laffy Taffy
- Gummy Bears/Worms
- Milky Way
Before you go cry into your Jack-o-Lantern, they offered a bit of good news. Better candy options include Kit Kat, Nestle's Crunch, Hershey's Chocolate, M&Ms, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and "similar chocolates because they are not as 'sticky' as the ones mentioned above."
But more important than what candy you unwrap is how you eat it and what you do after you're done. Holly says, "It's better to have them all at once than several times throughout the day. When you have them all at once it's just one insult to the teeth, but if you eat them often during the day, you're constantly exposing the teeth to sugar. That constant exposure ultimately weakens the enamel, which is called decalcification. If it continues, the enamel will become cavitated, and you have a cavity!" Holly and Gabe then recommend rinsing the mouth out with water to dilute the sugar, and waiting at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth.
Holly adds that it's not only candy that puts your teeth at risk for cavities. "Anything that gets stuck in the grooves of the teeth or in between them and stays there for a long time is more likely to cause a problem." Most people don't think of raisins, dried apricots, dates, fruit leather, and one of the worst offenders — potato chips! — as "cavity-causing," but they are if you eat them often.