The best and worst candies for your teeth this Halloween

woman bites into a piece of chocolate candy

Although most communities are discouraging trick-or-treating this year because of COVID-19, dental professionals know that many families will continue to make candy part of their Halloween celebrations. When choosing candy for yourself or your family, some candies are scarier than others.

Sour gummies are some of the worst for your teeth and should be avoided. “Sour gummies’ sticky texture leads to extended contact with sugar, and the acid for the sour taste causes the pH of the mouth to drop well below the 5.5 danger zone!  So, as tasty as these gummies are, I would recommend patients avoid them,” said Bekah Adamson, director of Hygiene Support at Aspen Dental.

multicolored sour gummy candy close up

Hard candies also give dental professionals nightmares. Eating hard candies can cause dental injuries like broken teeth or roots, and – like gummies – they stick to teeth causing prolonged exposure to sugar, contributing to tooth decay.

So, what’s a better option than hard candy, sours and gummies? There’s good news for chocolate lovers.

“If you’re looking for a sweet treat, chocolate wins. It dissolves quickly, and although high in calories, the fat content can reduce the damage to enamel and teeth,” Bekah said. “Dark chocolate is preferred over other chocolates since it has less sugar and sometimes even has bacteria-fighting compounds (epicatechin and polyphenols) that ward off cavities.”

Halloween does not have to be terrifying for your teeth. If you’ve let oral health habits slip during the pandemic, Halloween is the perfect time to reestablish a healthy routine. Usually Halloween candy lasts for several weeks, so as your family works its way through the sweet treats, use each piece of candy as a reminder to brush and floss for a healthy mouth and smile.