On Halloween, trick-or-treaters across the country will have their pillowcases full of candy that’s loaded with sugar. Most preventable cavities are caused by excess consumption of sugar and poor dental hygiene. This guide will help you and your children keep Halloween fun and mouthes healthier

How does candy damage teeth and cause cavities?

When you eat sugary food or drinks, the bacteria in the dental plaque on the teeth mixes with sugars and creates an acid. This acid attacks the outer layer of the tooth, called the enamel. The longer this happens, the easier it is to build up cavities and damage your teeth. Candies that get stuck in teeth, such as gummies and caramels, are the worst for this. Here are some treats to be eery about.

Candies & Treats to Avoid

Gummies, Caramels, Chews, Dried Fruit and Nougat: These sticky and chewy candies get wedged between the teeth and stay there for a long time, creating prolonged contact between sugar and plaque, which causes cavities.

Hard Candies and Lollipops: These can potentially chip the teeth and also soak your mouth in sugar for a long time while they dissolve.

Sour Candies: The acid used to make these candies have a sour taste erodes the enamel and can lead to cavities.

Chips: Even though they aren’t sugary, they get stuck in the teeth and can lead to cavities.

Friendlier Candies & Treats

Chocolates: Plain chocolate dissolves quickly in your mouth, reducing the amount of time teeth are exposed to sugar.

Powdered Sugar Candies like Rockets and Pixie Sticks: Although these candies are full of sugar, they are a better choice since they dissolve faster than sticky candy, so teeth aren’t exposed to the sugar for as long.

Sugar Free Gum: Gum activates your salivary glands, which can help wash away the leftover sugar from any candy you have been eating.

Cheese: Cheese leaves a protective coating on teeth that can prevent sugar from damaging your teeth.

Nuts: Nuts are healthy and don’t leave any sugar behind in your mouth.

Other tricks for treats

  • Use A Smaller Bag: Send children out with a smaller bag when trick-or-treating. Limit Candy Consumption: Only allow candy after your child has had a meal. This way your child will have a lesser appetite.
  • Swap Out Candy: Trade some candy for other rewards like a new toy or a fun outing.
  • Drink Water: Drink water after eating candy, especially chewy and sticky candy. This will help dissolve any remaining sugar on teeth and wash it away.
  • Brush And Floss: Brushing twice a day and flossing once daily helps get rid of plaque and any sugar left on the teeth. Make brushing fun by giving your children Halloween themed toothbrushes or stickers.

These are just some ideas to help keep you and your family’s mouths healthy!

For more information about oral health for children, see our page Dental Care For Children.

For activities, games, and information on oral health for students, see Resources for Teachers.