Too much Halloween candy remains spooky for your teeth

Posted on October 13, 2020 in Children’s Oral Health

Whether your children trick-or-treat this year or just enjoy some sweets at home, help protect their oral health this Halloween season. While a piece of candy can make just about anyone smile, try not to overindulge, and choose candy wisely – candy that melts easily is the best choice – and take special care by brushing and flossing afterward.

Even other ideas for celebrating the holiday — from carving pumpkins to having a scavenger hunt or scary movie marathon — will likely involve fun-sized candies that are synonymous with Halloween.

Take steps toward a tooth-friendly holiday

Cavities are a significant public health problem in Illinois, affecting more than 2 of 5 children.1 Although OK in moderation, candy can increase the likelihood of tooth decay. That’s because bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugar from candy — creating acids that can destroy tooth enamel and cause cavities.

Here are some steps you and your family can take to lessen the chance of getting cavities while enjoying the holiday:

  • Celebrate in ways that don’t focus on sweets, such as doing crafts or carving pumpkins. Or dress up in costume, take pictures and have a virtual party with family and friends.  
  • Consider alternatives to candy, such as stickers, Play-Doh, glow sticks, temporary tattoos, bouncy balls or bookmarks — whether you're handing them out to trick-or-treaters or celebrating at home.
  • Choose candy that melts quickly, like dark or milk chocolate. Candy that melts quickly also washes away from teeth easily.
  • Drink more water. Studies show that drinking water more than three times a day can decrease the likelihood of cavities.2 And hydrating after eating sweets can help wash away sugar left behind.
  • Enjoy sweets with a healthy meal, which helps to neutralize sugar in the mouth and lessen their effect on teeth.
  • Brush twice and floss once a day. This is important for your oral health every day, but even more so after enjoying sweets.

For more tips on protecting your oral health, visit

1,2 Illinois Department of Public Health, “Healthy Smiles Healthy Growth 2018-19,”