Halloween Sweets

by Sara Gackstetter R.D.H. | 17 October, 2017

Gummy Worm Candy

Candy & Teeth

Halloween is right around the corner and little goblins will be trick-or-treating to collect as much candy as they can, but it’s not just the kids enjoying the treats.  According to the Delta Dental Children’s Oral Health survey, nearly 80% of parents admit they eat their children’s candy! The sugar in those treats can scare you by playing unwanted tricks on your teeth if you’re not careful. 

This is why: The bacteria in your mouth is more excited to eat that candy than you are. When the bacteria eats sugar, a weak acid is produced, contributing to the destruction of tooth enamel. This leaves us with cavities. 

While no sweets are good for our teeth, some are less destructive than others. Here the candies are rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the least harmful. For another take of candies that are more or less harmful on mouth health; read "Halloween Candy: Your Dental Health Survival Guide". 

1. Sugar-free candy and gum with xylitol
Sugar-free does not contain the sugar that feeds the bacteria. Gum and candy with xylitol can protect the teeth by reducing acid and increasing saliva to rinse away the excess sugars and acids. 

2. Chocolate
Aside from sugar-free, chocolate is probably your best bet, which is good because it is the most popular Halloween candy. “Chocolate is one of the better candies because it washes of the teeth easier than other types,” ADA dentist, Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty says. “Dark chocolate also has less sugar than milk chocolate.”

3. Powdery candy (sugar straws)
Sure, powdery candy is pure sugar and makes a dental hygienist cringe, but it dissolves quickly and does not stick to the teeth. 

4. Hard candy
Hard candy is tough on the teeth because it tends to be sucked on for an extended period of time. Essentially, bathing the teeth in sugar and acid. Plus, they tend to break and chip the teeth if you are not careful. Delta Dental’s survey reports 50% of kids enjoy their share of hard candy at Halloween. 

5. Sticky and Sour candy
Be picky if it’s sticky. These are some of the worst candies for your teeth.  “The candy is harder to remove and may stay longer on your teeth, which gives the cavity causing bacteria more time to work,” Dr. Ferraz-Dougherty says. You may also want to pass on candies that make you pucker-especially if they are sticky and sugar coated. “Sour candy is very acidic, and that acidity will weaken and damage the outer shell of your teeth, making your teeth more vulnerable to cavities” (Ferraz-Dougherty)

In addition to our list of least to most harmful candies, check out a list that Delta Dental covers regarding; "Tips and Tricks for Avoiding Overindulging in Halloween Treats". No need to hang up our costumes just yet.  As long as you are brushing twice a day and flossing once a day all year long, it is okay to splurge on Halloween candy. It is also best to avoid letting kids snack on candy all throughout the day. We can protect our teeth from decay if we limit the candy to small portions at limited times, such as after a meal, for dessert. For more information as to how you can better protect yours families mouth health going into the holiday seasons; read this article sponsored by American Dental Association, "12 Tips for a Healthy Halloween".