There are some Health"tier" options when it comes to Halloween candy!
Here are my recommendations:
1. Sugar Free Pops "Suckers" as we used to call them! These are my favorites! They are made with Xylitol which is a very dental friendly sweetener. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol which can not be fermented, and is therefore useless to oral bacteria as an energy source. Yay! Xylitol is non toxic to humans. Yay! The only downside is, xylitol, and any sugar alcohol for that matter, does have laxative properties if used in excess. Everything in moderation y'all! The study I was looking at showed children having laxative effects after consumption of 65 g of xylitol in one sitting. Now, that is over four lollipops at once. Let's be honest, no one needs four pops at a time. Unless you could use the laxative properties...then by all means help yourself!
2. Sugar Free Gum Sugar free gum needs to be its own post, but until then, here is the short and sweet. My highest recommendation at the time of this writing is Pur gum. My second favorite is Xylitol, and then in third place is a tie between Trident and Orbit. If the gum is not sweetened with Xylitol, I did not even consider it. The first two are more expensive and a little harder to find...especially on short notice. So if you are in a pinch, or you need to purchase a lot...say for Halloween treats, then don't feel guilty about going the Trident/Orbit route! It is still such a great service to participate in the festivities, and not contribute to tooth decay in little ones!
3. Dark Chocolate Ok, if I am going to relent on one "candy" it would most definitely be dark chocolate. The research is irrefutable as to the significant health benefits of cocoa. Cocoa has had signifiant research to show powerful antioxidant effects and cardiovascular benefits. Here is the key though...it needs to be over 70% cocoa and preferably organic. Past that... enjoy in moderation! Here is an option for bulk Halloween candy if you are looking for one. But...here is one of my personal favorites!
4. Non-Edible Treats! Halloween treats do not have to be edible! There are tons of other ways to go to celebrate! See my next blog post for tuns of fun ideas!
5. Moderation I am a firm believer in moderation! It is unrealistic to expect people to never ever have a sweet treat. Especially children, who want to partake in the fun. The key is MODERATION and EDUCATION! Please see the third blog post in this series for ideas to encourage moderation of candy after Halloween.
As for education, here it is in a nut shell.... There is a cycle of acidity happening in your mouth and it all begins with eating fermentable sugars, such as white sugar, honey, milk, carbohydrates, fruit, the list goes on and on and on. Next, you have bacteria living in your mouth... you always have and you always will. Some of you have more naughty ones than others, depending on your oral hygiene practices and personal flora, but that is a topic for a different post. Once you eat a fermentable sugar of any type, the bacteria in your mouth start to have their own meal and break this sugar down into energy for themselves. (They are robbing you!) In this process, the bacteria produce a byproduct of acid. The bacteria are capable of enjoying themselves and producing this acid for approximately 30 minutes before your saliva will win the acidity battle, by washing out the remaining sugars, and using their awesome buffering power. During this cycle, the acidity in your mouth is capable of demineralizing enamel...that means making holes in your teeth! Now...obviously this happens over a period of time...many cycles. But you need to be mindful of this process! This is one of the major contributing factors to why sippers and snackers struggle with decay. This cycle is being restarted with one sip of a soft drink, one potato chip, or .........one piece of Halloween Candy!!!