Ontario dentists dole out Halloween candy advice

Perhaps resigning themselves to reality, the Ontario Dental Association has come up with a "good, bad and ugly" guide to Halloween candy. And chocolate is not public enemy number one.

Sorry, sour candy lovers: Your treat is the worst for teeth, say dentists

A local dentist encourages kids to drop of their Halloween candy at his office, and in return they get $1 for every pound. (CBC)
  It seems not all dentists abhor Halloween, as you might believe.

Perhaps resigning themselves to reality, the Ontario Dental Association has come up with a "good, bad and ugly" guide to Halloween candy. 

And, there's good news for chocolate lovers. 

The dentists' list divides candy into categories based on how long it takes to eat, how long the sugar might coat the inside of your mouth, and how likely candy bits may be to get lodged in your teeth. 

  • The Good: Chocolates cause the least damage to your teeth because they dissolve quickly in your mouth. Nuts, sunflower seeds and sugarless gum are also great options.
  • The Bad: Lollipops, jawbreakers and other hard candies take a long time to break down and can damage dental work and chip teeth.
  • The Ugly: Sticky treats like raisins, toffee, fruit roll-ups and caramels get lodged in the teeth, which can cause decay. Sour candies are chewy and their high acid content can erode tooth enamel.

Timmins dentist Dr. Lou Ann Visconti says she simply loves Halloween, and promises she won't be the kind of dentist who gives out toothbrushes to trick-or-treaters. 

"My favourite are chocolate bars, by far. I'm a chocolate lover," she told CBC.

She suggests the best way to manage the candy pile is for parents to set a time when it's okay for kids to raid their stash, instead of allowing them to graze throughout the day. 

Timing the treat

"Keep in mind that candy should be a treat, not a part of your regular diet," said ODA president Dr. Jack McLister.

"For your oral health and overall body health be mindful of how much sugar you consume," he said in a release.

Timing can be important, said Visconti. "Really the best candy time to raid the stash is after a meal, because the saliva that's produced while eating will help protect the teeth." 

She also suggests pairing candy with healthy "teeth-cleaning" snacks like vegetables, fruit or cheese because "they neutralize the acids that build up from the sugar," she said.