It’s that time of year. The trees show their beautiful fall colors.  The morning air feels crisp and cool.  Many families have decorated their homes for Halloween.  Part of the festivities includes candy: Trick or Treat!? How can your family have a tooth-friendly Halloween?

handful of candy corn scattered on a white tabletop

Have a tooth-friendly Halloween

Let’s face it.  We all have our guilty indulgences.  In my dental practice, I advise my patients (adult or child) the same way.  I never tell somebody that they cannot enjoy something.  I do educate them on the risk of too much sugar in their diet and the benefits of moderation.  For most of us, it takes a long time to learn how to balance treats vs healthy foods.  The sooner your child learns this discipline, the better.

The Science of a Tooth-Friendly Halloween

Let’s remove the emotions and look at eating Halloween candy scientifically.  Saliva contains bicarbonate which neutralizes acid that causes decay.  Salivary flow peaks at meal times.  It decreases between meals and at nighttime.  So, a tooth-friendly Halloween starts with eating candy at mealtimes.  (For the same reason, one should eat fruits for a between-meal snack).

Being a realist, I question how many children adequately brush their teeth after lunch at school.  So my advice, let them have one or two pieces of candy immediately after dinner with the understanding that they brush afterwards.  For younger children, I suggest parents do a second brushing.

In addition, keep in mind that sugarless gum provides a great alternative to sticky candy.

Last, the American Dental Association (ADA) provides an article called Halloween Candy: Your Dental Health Survival Guide. The Guide provides specific information including the fact that chocolate offers a more tooth-friendly choice than gummie or hard candy.


Happy Halloween,

Mark A. Knollman, DDS