Trick or Treat: A Dentist’s Guide to Halloween Candy

woman handing out candy to kids trick or treating

Ahh, Halloween. The favorite holiday of many kids, and the most dreaded holiday among dentists. While most dentists would prefer people pass out something other than sugar-filled candies, that’s just wishful thinking! We want to help make sure your family’s smiles stay happy and healthy, so we’re sharing a few tips to make this Halloween a little more tooth-friendly.

We’ll start by saying this: Halloween is about dressing up, having fun and, yes, eating candy! It’s okay for you and your kids to eat some, as long as you don’t overdo it and properly care for your teeth afterwards. The bacteria in your mouth absolutely love when you have sugar, and fest on whatever is left behind after eating. In doing so, the bacteria produce a weak acid that contributes to cavities.

Here’s a quick overview of a few of the most common types of Halloween treats and the impact they can have on your teeth.

Chocolate Candies

We’ll start with the good news. Chocolate, one of the most popular treats, is usually your best bet. While that doesn’t include everything coated in chocolate (think candy bars with other ingredients like caramel), chocolate in general washes away from your teeth much easier than other candies. Even better, dark chocolate is lower in sugar.

Sticky, Gummy + Sour Candies

This is the candy territory to be weary of. Due to their gummy nature, these candies are often more difficult to remove and often stick around longer. Often higher in sugar, they’re more acidic in nature. Best to avoid them if possible!

Hard Candies

Especially for younger kids, hard candies should be consumed with caution. Not only are they in your mouth longer than other types of candy – meaning the sugar sticks around and gets in your saliva – but they also pose a greater risk for chipping or breaking a tooth.

Popcorn Balls

These have long been a staple in Halloween treat bags. As with regular popcorn, it’s a good idea to keep floss around if you’re enjoying one; you’re bound to get a kernel or two stuck between your teeth! Depending on the recipe, they can also be very sticky and sugary. For that reason, it’s best to limit yourself to one if they’re an absolute must-have!

If you’re curious about your child’s dental health and how some Halloween candies can affect them (or you!) get in touch with one of our friendly staff members today. With offices in Glendale/Fox Point and Greendale, we’re just a phone call or short trip away!

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