Ask a Dentist: How Do We Deal With Halloween Candy?

Ask a Dentist: How Do We Deal With Halloween Candy?

Halloween has to be either the biggest bane of dentists and parents alike. It almost seems like the cruelest trick or the greatest treat, depending on the viewpoint of the dentist. The excess candy, and the sizable dental bills after treating the toothaches that come after usually go hand in hand. Adults are worried about the public health and safety of children when it comes to weight management and oral care. Combine those fears with urban legends of people poisoning the candy, and its no wonder half the American population doesn’t really want to deal with it.

However, does that mean that no one should give candy out at the doorstep any more on Halloween night?  Should children be getting floss instead of a treat? Here is some advice that some dentists in Austin, Texas have to offer in regards to dealing with Halloween candy.

Some Treats are Better for Your Teeth Than Others

Not all candies are created equal. If that was the case, then there wouldn’t be so many brands all over the place. Some are fruity, chewy, sour, chocolaty, or a combination of all these things. It’s kind of mind-blowing. However, if you were to ask a dentist what piece of candy is safer for your teeth, they will probably encourage you to go for the chocolate first.

According to ADA’s Dr. Ana Doughtery, “Chocolate is probably your best bet, which is good because it’s also one of the most popular kinds of candy handed out on Halloween. “Chocolate is one of the better candies because it washes off your teeth easier than other types of candy.”

Hard candies, sticky candy, and candy that is chewier are far more likely to stick to your teeth. If the candy sticks to the teeth for too long, then it gives harmful bacteria the time and sugars to feed and grow. Sour candies can be acidic and can wear down tooth enamel, as well.

Moderation and Impulse Control is Key

One of the many conditions that make us human is the fact that we oftentimes act against our long term self-interest for the sake of short term pleasure. For example, a kid could get out of school decides that they would rather just watch tv now instead of get homework done. They know it is going to lead to a frantic Sunday night trying to get everything done in time. However, that is a problem for later. Adults do it too.  Sometimes they want to spend money now on makeup, electronics, or other things instead of rent because they would rather satisfy the need to indulge now rather than think about putting off their gratification later.

So when a child or teen has an entire stockpile of sweets from trick or treating, it is very tempting to dig into the entire stock. And it may seem super satisfying at the moment. However, in the end, it leads to a lot of pain and suffering that you curse your past self over.

Use this situation as a teachable moment to help your kids master the idea of moderation. Encourage them to throw out the c-list candy that no one eats anyway. Give them a chance to trade their b-grade candy with siblings, friends, or cousins. Tell them they can have one or two pieces every other night. Stick to that limit and it will help them get into healthier habits that their teeth will thank them for later.

Encourage Consistent Healthy Dental Practices

Even if there is a chance your child prefers Skittles over a Snickers bar, or if the imposed limit failed, there is no need for alarm. If your child already consistently brushes and flosses their teeth, then they are more than likely to be able to handle the occasional candy bar.   Just manage to keep these things in mind when you and your kids are trying to protect their teeth for the upcoming Halloween treats.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste. Remember, replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth.
  • Floss your teeth once a day. Decay-causing bacteria get between teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for a dental cleaning and tooth exam. It helps with early detection for much bigger problems down the road.

If you are looking for a dentist in Austin, Texas feel free to visit us at


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