Oral Health Tips: The Worst (and Best) Sweets for Kids at Halloween

It is almost impossible to completely avoid candy at Halloween. From school parties and trick-or-treating to gifts from relatives and candy exchanges among friends, Halloween activities revolve around sweet treats. So why not help your kids snack on candies that impact oral health the least?

Hard Candy
You might think sticky, gooey candies would harm teeth the most, but they do not. Lollipops and hard candies lingering in your child's mouth subject the teeth to the most dental damage. Unless you choose sugar-free hard candies, you are putting your child's teeth at risk for prolonged acid attacks, which can lead to tooth decay, according to the American Dental Association.

If gourmet lollipops top the list of favorites at Halloween, try to take sips of water as you suck on the candy. Then follow up with a thorough tooth and tongue brushing, and rinse with a child-safe mouthwash to whisk away any lingering sugars.

Sticky Treats
From gummy worms to caramels, sticky candies are plentiful during Halloween. These soft candies tend to stick to the teeth and linger long after the treat has been enjoyed. To reduce dental damage, enjoy one piece at a time, and make sure your child chews it fully. It is a good idea to incorporate these treats into mealtime so that hard foods, such as carrot sticks or almonds, can help to dislodge the sticky treats from crevices in the teeth.

Chewing Gum
Surprisingly, one of the safest Halloween treats to enjoy is gum. Although it lingers in the mouth, gum stimulates extra saliva production, which naturally rinses the mouth and keeps plaque-causing bacteria at bay.

To keep your little one's oral health on track, choose sugar-free, all-natural gum sweetened with fruit juices approved by the ADA. Always monitor your children when they chew gum to reduce risk of choking.

Your little ones can still enjoy sweet treats on Halloween, but take note of what these sugary snacks do to their oral health. Try to combine the sweets with food or water, follow up with a tooth brushing and choose sugar-free varieties as much as possible.

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