Close up of assorted multicolored gourmet jelly beans.

If you have a sweet tooth, you’re probably enjoying the Easter season. From homemade chocolate eggs to colorful marshmallow Peeps, there are plenty of opportunities to indulge.

Of course, sugar isn’t exactly a health food, and many people wisely limit their intake for diet’s sake. But there’s more to be concerned about than just your waistline. Before you grab another handful of jelly beans, take a moment to consider another part of your body that candy isn’t always kind to: Your teeth!

Below we’ll take a look at some of the worst offenders, plus a few healthier options that’ll satisfy those cravings without the risk.

pile of milk chocolate blocks

Milk Chocolate

Put down the chocolate bunny! Even if you just eat the ears, milk chocolate’s high sugar content can lead to cavities and tooth decay. It’s even worse when you add an overly sweet, sticky filling like caramel or peanut butter, which can stick to your teeth and intensify the problem.

What you should eat:

Try dark chocolate! In addition to being lower in sugar than milk chocolate, it also contains antioxidants and polyphenols, which can help fight bad breath. If you prefer filled over plain, skip the marshmallow and coconut cream and go for peanuts or almonds. The nuts will break up the stickiness of the chocolate, plus the have some health benefits too!

Jelly worm sour sugar candy isolated over the white background

Sour Candy

Sour Patch Kids, gummy worms and other sour candies are highly acidic and can break down tooth enamel at a rapid pace. Enjoying too many tart treats can lease to increased sensitivity and tooth pain.

What you should eat:

Try jelly beans! While still chewy and sticky and best enjoyed in smaller amounts, jelly beans come in a variety of flavors, some that have a sour taste without the added acidity.

Hard candy sweets shot over white background

Hard Candy

The reason hard candy like lollipops, Sweet Tarts and Jolly Ranchers are potentially dangerous is right in the name. It’s hard! Biting down on a solid sucker can cause chips and cracks or knock caps and fillings loose. And, since you keep candies like these in your mouth for a long time, that’s more exposure to cavity-causing sugar.

What you should eat:

Try sugarless gum! Available in a lot of the same fruity flavors as your typical hard cardies, you’ll get all the taste without the potential for expensive damages.

Final Word

Remember – It’s okay to treat yourself every now and then! As long as you don’t overdo it, it’s perfectly fine to enjoy a piece or two of candy from your Easter basket, especially if you remember to drink lots of water and brush your teeth soon after.

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