It’s Official: Pediatric Dentists Prefer Ice Cream to Candy

little boy enjoying dentist approved ice cream

Anyone who’s ever tried, failed and given up on brushing a small child’s teeth once or twice (um, a week?), or bribed them with candy to do…well…everything has reason to fear the dentist, right? Surely we’ll have to pay the piper in cavities for failing to pull off a sneak attack brush sesh, even while they were mesmerized by Tayo The Little Bus? But no!

We have hit upon a sweets loophole approved by most pediatric dentists: Chocolate, cookies and ice cream are kind of OK! Gummies, hard candies, jelly beans and sour anything are far more harmful.

Why? Ice cream, cookies and plain chocolates (think Hershey’s Kisses) rinse off the teeth with relative ease, whether with the child’s own saliva or by drinking water. Gummy candies tend to stick to the enamel and potentially pull it off during the chewing process, making baby teeth even more vulnerable to cavities. The acid in sour candies also erodes enamel. Ditto sucking candies that stay in the mouth a whole lot longer than your average bite of ice cream, coating the teeth in sugar. And even after the candy has been swallowed, remnants stick to the grooves atop molars and the typically wider spaces between kids’ teeth, leading to more plaque and decay.

No matter which treats they munch, swishing with water, brushing and flossing afterward are always advised. As for the sugar-induced meltdowns? We’ll get back to you once we’ve found a loophole for those.