A Pediatric Dentist’s Tooth-Healthy Guide To Halloween Candies


As a pediatric dentist, I know it is nearly impossible to avoid Halloween candy altogether. But there are some simple ways you can minimize the sugar overload and help your children make more tooth-friendly choices.

Use Halloween as a teaching moment to help your child learn about moderation and dental care. Follow these tips and Halloween won’t have to be scary for your child’s dental health.

After indulging in Halloween treats, be sure to have your child both brush and floss, since candy can easily get stuck between teeth. 

Always make a safety check of your child’s haul, and help your child make tooth-healthy choices to keep. Consider sending the rest of the candy to “The Halloween Fairy.” Leave the scary smile to the Jack-O-Lantern. 

Good Treats

  • Dark chocolates are better for the teeth because they are less likely to get stuck in the grooves and crevices of the teeth.

    • Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that can stop bacteria from sticking to teeth, helping to fight gum infections and tooth decay.

    • Dark chocolate also has less sugar than milk chocolate.

  • Microwave popcorn and cheese sticks.

  • Sugar-free gum - when chewed, produces saliva, which helps neutralize the acid in the mouth. Make sure your child can be trusted chewing gum.

  • Pretzels

  • Non-candy options like stickers, pencils and small trinkets like temporary tattoos and glow-sticks are great alternatives to candy.

Bad Tricks

  • Sticky treats leave sugar directly on the teeth for prolonged periods. The stickier the candy, the worse it is for dental health. Some are sticky and strong enough to pull out a filling, bridge, or braces. These include:

    • Gummies

    • Caramel

    • Tootsie Rolls and Pops

    • Taffy

    • Bubble gum

    • fruit leather and even dried fruit 

  • Sour candies (especially if they are sticky and coated in sugar) are high in acidity, which erodes tooth enamel. 

  • Hard candies can damage teeth and are a choking hazard for young children.

If your child has allergies, here are some resources to help you plan a safe Halloween.