I talk a lot about how to handle sweet indulgences – especially around the holidays. But one BIG indulgence all of us tend to overlook are those concession stand goodies at the movie theater.
I fully admit that my movie theater experiences just aren’t complete unless I have a big bag of buttered popcorn in hand. I suspect many of you feel the same way too. Unfortunately though, those sugary, buttery, carb-laden snacks are scarier than a blockbuster horror flick. And unless you are careful, movie munchies can play a big role in tooth damage, staining and cavities.
Also read: Mouth-Healthy Foods and Drinks
Watch out for un-popped popcorn kernels. Crunching down on them is a common cause of broken, cracked teeth.
Popcorn husks can also become lodged between the back teeth and gums, often requiring a course of antibiotics to clear up any resulting infection.
If sweets are your thing, some concession choices are better than others.
Sour Patch Kids and War Heads – These candies cause the most damage because they contain high amounts of citric, fumaric and malic acids, all which cause damage to tooth enamel.
Milk Duds and Sugar Babies – The caramel in these treats is super sticky enabling it to remain on teeth for a long period of time. Also, its stickiness can enable crowns or fillings to be pulled out.
Raisinets and Boston Baked Beans – While these may seem like a healthy choice, they are also sticky, allowing sugar to stick on teeth.
M&Ms and Reese’s Pieces — Not as sticky as other sweets, but the colored candy shell can stain teeth.
Also read: How to Protect Your Teeth from Erosion
If you’re interested in snacking on better alternatives at the movies, dark chocolate is always a good way to go. Dark chocolate is the least processed and closest to the cocoa bean, which contain tannins, polyphenols, and flavonoids. Each of these offers a strong antioxidant that benefits the mouth and teeth.
Pixie Stix are a decent candy option because they are poured directly on the tongue, thus avoiding chewing altogether.
Cheese Nachos from a purely oral health perspective, are a reasonable choice because the sugar content isn’t high; they aren’t hard to chew and there’s not much acidity.
Now, being that I like popcorn and movie munchies as much as the next person, I can’t in good conscious advise you to avoid these treats altogether. But please make them a once-in-a-while indulgence. And, always try brushing your teeth or rinsing your mouth with water afterwards.
Also read: 4 Surprising Snacks that Protect Teeth