Just a Skittle something to think about.
America’s favorite Halloween candy is Skittles — but the fruit-flavored sweet with the hard shell is one of those candies dentists say should be avoided.
According to an 11-year study (2007-2017) of sales data compiled by Candystore.com, the top 10 Halloween candy in America are, starting from the most popular: Skittles, M&M’s, Snickers, Reese’s cups, Starburst, candy corn, Hot Tamales, Hershey’s, Tootsie Pops and, rounding out the list, Jolly Ranchers.
Halloween candy spending will reach $2.6 billion this year, according to the National Retail Federation.
An interactive map showing the top three candies in each state was released in late September, and some favorites were unexpected, like saltwater taffy and Hot Tamales.
Sour Patch Kids came in first place for New Yorkers, followed by candy corn and Hot Tamales.
Dr. Minisha Sood, an endocrinologist and obesity specialist who calls candy a “vehicle for delivering sugar,” told the Daily News: “It’s made in colors and is palatable and it’s marketed perfectly to attract its target audience for young people.
“These people tend to be brand-loyal and develop a taste for these types of things.”
In fact, she added, “It’s normalized in today’s society that kids should get candy on a regular basis.”
That’s not a good thing, she said, explaining the toxic effects sugar has on the body.
“It can lead to hormonal changes which could favor the development of excess weight and, especially in those who are genetically predisposed, high sugar intake can progress their development of obesity,” Sood said.
As a parent of three children, Sood, admits it’s “quite challenging as a parent to not only model the behavior, but remind them that the average intake of sugar is not necessarily good for their health.”
There’s also the harmful effects those sugary sweets have on a child’s teeth. Dentist Dr. Ramin Tabib told The News: “People that I worry about are the ones that consume candy as a major portion of their diet.”
Tabib, of NYC Smile Design, also warns that candy is extremely addictive. “It’s no different than nicotine. The more you have it — the more you want it, and the sweets are not getting sweet enough for you,” he said. Highly loaded sugary candies are then needed to feed the addiction, he said.
The worst candy someone could consume is sugary lollipops, according to Tabib.
“It’s in your mouth for a long period of time and it’s constantly bathing your teeth in sugar. The bacteria are loving it and producing all kinds of acids and cavities,” he explained.
Anything that’s very sticky — like America’s favorite, Skittles — are also very bad for teeth.
If you are having these, Tabib would suggest you immediately brush your teeth within two minutes, but due to the stickiness of the candy, it may not come off entirely.
When candy sticks to the teeth, “sugar is converted to acid and the pH in your mouth changes,” he said.
“Mouths should not be acidic under any circumstances because it brings the chance of cavities and erosion,” according to Tabib.
He suggests parents look for some healthier choices of candy to give out to trick-or-treaters this year — and tell their children why those candy choices were made.
For example, Zollipops — an organic, tooth-friendly candy sweetened with xylitol — helps break down the decay process.
“It is proven that xylitol can reduce decay causing bacteria in the mouth and unlike normal sugar it’s not converted to acids. The acids are what causes cavities,” Tabib said.
In regards to a study showing a 15% increase in online Halloween candy sales, Tabib thinks the simple ordering process is just making it easier to form addictions to this “dangerous substance.”
“Sugar is dangerous stuff. I consider it to be a drug — but I still think it’s OK to have sugar candy once in a while,” he said.
Forest Hills, Queens, mom Amanda Heng, 44, who says Skittles are her second-grader son Jacob Fung’s favorite candy, added, “I know candy isn’t good for him and I try to limit his intake but, hey, it’s Halloween!”