Best and worst candy for a healthy smile

Sweets you should steer clear of and the five that will help you stay cavity-free
© Real Beauty // © Real Beauty

Halloween brings a smile to everyone's face, but all that candy may be more of a trick on your teeth than a treat. Here are five sweets you should steer clear of this October 31st and the five that will help you stay cavity-free.

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Avoid: Taffy

Even if you loved sampling this saltwater treat as a kid by the sea, it's better to refrain from that trip down memory lane. This gooey indulgence will get majorly stuck in your teeth—way longer than other candy—and lead to cavities.

"The longer a food sticks to your teeth, the longer bacteria can feed on it," says Dr. Timothy Chase, a practicing partner at SmilesNY. "This will produce cavity-causing acid."

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Avoid: Nuts and caramel

Snickers may satisfy, but the caramel and nuts combo is a cavity waiting to happen. Like taffy, caramel will get stuck in your teeth for long periods of time. While the nuts will get into the grooves of your teeth, often out of reach of your toothbrush and floss. Coconut has the same effect. 

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Avoid: Hard candy

Unlike nuts and chews, hard candies such as lollipops or jawbreakers do not get stuck in your teeth, but they can be just as detrimental. Their dental downfall is they take a long time to dissolve which causes your mouth to become more acidic and that can lead to enamel erosion.

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Avoid: Sour candy

Sorry all you Sour Patch Kid lovers, these pucker-inducing sweets are also high in acidic content that breaks down tooth enamel.

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Avoid: Powdery candy

"Candies such as Pixie Stix may dissolve quickly in the mouth and don’t require chewing," says Dr. Chase. Sounds like a winner, right? "But since they contain nothing but sugar these types of candy can lead to cavities by changing the mouth's pH and giving the bacteria straight sugar to feed on." This, as you probably guessed, eats away at your tooth enamel.

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Indulge: Chocolate

Good news chocoholics! Go ahead and grab a Hershey bar from the Halloween candy bowl. This smooth treat has no sticky fillings that linger on your teeth.

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Indulge: Dark Chocolate

And if you chocolate lovers want to take the health factor up a notch, opt for a antioxidant-rich dark piece. According to some studies, this treat can be good for the heart and may even lower blood pressure.

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Indulge: Non-citrus sugar free hard candy

It might be a no-brainer to go sugar-free, but also be sure to choose a non-citrus sucker. Lemony candy contains acid that is harmful to your teeth and should be avoided.

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Indulge: Sugar-free gum

Having a candy craving? Pop in a piece of Dentyne Ice. Not only is sugar-free gum low-cal, it leaves no plaque-causing sticky residue. "It is sweetened with xylitol, a natural sugar that bacteria is unable to form plaque on," says Dr. Chase.

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