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Halloween Candy Tips for Your Teeth

The American Dental Association says to “skip sticky or sour candies” but “a little chocolate is fine.”

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Written by Laura Ramsey on October 24, 2023

Have you ever wondered if some Halloween candy is better or worse for your teeth? The answer is a resounding “yes.” Whether you’re choosing what kind of sweets to hand out at home or curious if some candies should mysteriously disappear from your child’s trick-or-treat bag, here’s a basic run-down of what to avoid and some better options. 

Hard Candy 

Hard candy, and anything with a hard center, can crack or chip a tooth when you inevitably bite down after a few minutes. It could even cause damage to dental work such as fillings, bridges or crowns

Better option: Be careful when biting down and put in the work to make sure nothing stays stuck in your teeth when you’re done. 

Sour Candy 

The American Dental Association (ADA) warns, “Sour candies are high in dietary acids that attack the hard, protective coating on your teeth (enamel). They’re tasty, but they’re some of the worst offenders when it comes to tooth decay.” 

Better option: Sugar-free gum. 

Sticky Candy 

Sticky or gummy candy should be avoided. They tend to get stuck on teeth and may even stay there after brushing. That means the sugar is sitting there, doing damage to the enamel, and increasing your risk for decay and cavities. 

Better choice: If you can find sugar-free options, go for those instead. 


Good news: The ADA says, “a little chocolate is fine!” Most chocolate doesn’t stick to your teeth quite as badly as other sweets, and it’s often the most popular for Halloween. (Except for that one candy bar we all know gets stuck like crazy and it’s like a tongue exercise to try and get un-stuck from each tooth after each bite – skip that one). 

Better choice: Dark or semisweet chocolate has less sugar than milk chocolate. 

Other Fall Foods 

  • Pumpkin: While you won’t find it trick-or-treating, pumpkin is a fall food with plenty of good properties for oral health. According to Today’s RDH, “Pumpkins contain magnesium, which works together with calcium to build strong tooth enamel and prevent cavities. Pumpkins are even packed with fiber, which helps scrub your teeth and also contributes to saliva production!” 
  • Garlic: It’s not just for keeping the vampires away! Garlic has anti-bacterial properties that can help protect your teeth and gums. It’s also been known to alleviate tooth pain.

Bonus Tips 

  • Drink lots of water to wash away sugar buildup while eating candy. 
  • Eat dinner before trick-or-treating. If you're full from a healthy meal, you’ll be less likely to indulge in too much candy later. 
  • Brush and floss! This may seem like common sense, but it is especially important after eating sweet treats. 

Find more mouth-healthy tips in the ADA’s Halloween Survival Guide