New Year’s Eve.

Once the fall hits, the holidays are officially on a roll. They just don’t stop, and neither do the opportunities for your family to satisfy their sweet tooth.

So, with these holidays right around the corner, what do you need to know in terms of the worst — as well as the best — candy for your children’s dental health?

All Tricks, No Treats?

Let’s start by addressing the number one cause of dental dismay during the holiday season: Hard candy. This includes lollipops, hard toffee, Skittles, and more.

Capable of chipping away at your children’s teeth with one bad bite, you may want to reconsider just how much you keep on hand this year. Moreover, you should definitely steer clear of them if your child is currently undergoing orthodontic care, as they can also break brackets and bend wires.

Similarly, super sticky or chewy candies will adhere to their teeth, melting into the little nooks and crannies where they’ll cause cavities if not cleaned properly. Think:

  • Fruit leather
  • Caramel
  • Gummies
  • And more

“There is one exception to this rule, however, and that’s sugarless gum,” according to the American Dental Association (ADA). “Studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay. And if you see the ADA Seal on the package, you’ll know it’s sugar free and a safe treat for your teeth.”

On the Dentist’s Nice List

So, what is safe to eat? Have no fear, the sweet treats of the season don’t have to disappear completely!

Chocolate, for example, is still an ideal treat in comparison to the aforementioned. Be it a chocolate bar, chocolate-covered peanut butter cup, or even little Hershey’s kisses, chocolate is easy to brush away and not likely to cause dental damage if bit into wrong.

Similarly, soft cookies make for a warm and happy alternative. Better yet, you can make them at home from scratch; not only will you have a family activity to share, but you can cut back on the sugar and take control in the kitchen.

Finally, there’s always fruit! And if you want it to have more of a decadent dessert feel without the heaps of sugar, we have an idea for you: Nice cream.

“‘Nice cream’ refers to fruit-based ice cream, which you can make by blending frozen fruit with optional add-ins — like peanut butter, honey, or coconut milk — and freezing the mix,” Healthline explains.

Celebration is Still Sweet

At the end of the day, no matter what sweets you keep hidden away in your pantry, you might consider incorporating them into your mealtimes as opposed to sneaking them as a solo treat.

“Consume candy and other sweets with your meals, not as a snack,” Colgate recommends. “If you want to enjoy your holiday goodies, treat them as a dessert instead of a snack. Your saliva increases during meals to help wash away the sugars in a more efficient manner.”

Also, never forget to brush and floss thoroughly to help keep the sugar-induced cavities at bay!

And if you need a little help maintaining your family’s little teeth, that’s where the Office of Setzer, Cochran, Soares, and Hubbard comes in!

Our board-certified pediatric dentists are ready to help your children continue smiling through each and every holiday on the horizon! To schedule your end-of-the-year appointment, reach out to our team today!