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How do Halloween sweets stack up?

Learn which treats are best for kids' teeth and which are the worst.

Halloween is one of the scariest holidays for teeth, but all candies are not equally frightful. Some of the sweets in your children’s treat bags have the potential to do more damage to teeth than others. If you have a sweet tooth, choose wisely.

The least dangerous candies:

  • Sugar-free gum. As long as it doesn’t contain sugar, gum can be good for your smile. It stimulates saliva production, which helps fight dry mouth and rinses away food particles.
  • Dark chocolate. Chocolate is a better choice than most candy because saliva is able to rinse it from teeth relatively easily. Because it has less sugar than milk chocolate, dark chocolate is your best option.
  • Milk chocolate. Milk chocolate is a close second to dark, but avoid any with caramel, nougat or other sticky fillings.

The worst candies:

  • Lollipops. Candies designed to be sucked on for a long period of time can bathe your teeth in a sugary solution for extended periods of time.
  • Candy corn. The sticky sugars in candy corn will cling to teeth long after the treat is gone.
  • Gummy candy. Gummy candies can also get stuck to and in between teeth. This feeds the decay-causing bacteria for a long time and can lead to cavities.
  • Caramel. Not only are caramels and toffees sticky, they can also pull out fillings!
  • Jawbreakers. Like lollipops, jawbreakers are designed to expose teeth to sugar over a long period of time. Plus, crunching down on a hard object is bad news for teeth. They’re called jawbreakers for a reason.
  • Sour and tart candies. Acidic candies provide a one-two punch: they wear down your enamel and are loaded with sugar, the perfect recipe for decay.

Regardless of what kind of candy you and your children indulge in this Halloween, you can minimize the damage by following up sweets with a glass or water or a balanced meal. And, of course, brushing and flossing after meals is the best way to keep the plaque monsters at bay. Have a happy Halloween!

Last updated October 12, 2021

The oral health information on this website is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.