Protecting Teeth: Ration or Gorge on Halloween Candy?

Children across the nation are gearing up for Halloween 2014. They are planning their costumes and dreaming of buckets of candy coming their way. Parents on the other hand dread the potential side effects of excessive sugar coating their children’s teeth. Your Gary dentist Dr. Cain offers some tips to surviving Halloween with our teeth unscathed and free of cavities.

Allow Children to Gorge on Candy, Discard the Rest

Dr. Cain recommends that parents allow children to gorge on candy for three or four days and then donate the rest to charity or simply throw it away. The alternative to this is rationing the candy over days and weeks. However, this is detrimental because one’s teeth will be repeatedly attacked by the acid byproduct of sugar-eating bacteria. When we eat food, bacteria in our mouth consume the sugar or starches and release a sticky acid that clings to teeth. This dangerous acid can eat through the top layer of teeth, the enamel, and create a cavity. If kids repeatedly expose their teeth to this acid by snacking on candy on a daily basis, teeth will be unable to repair themselves following the acid attacks. However, if a child gorges on candy, saliva will have the ability to neutralize the acid after an hour or so and mend the teeth. In addition, most kids will brush their teeth after gorging on candy, but intermittent candy snacks are not always followed by tooth brushing.

Some Candy Is More Harmful than Others

Sticky candy such as gummy bears or caramel can incur the greatest damage on teeth because they are more likely to remain on the teeth for long periods of time. Sour candy is typically more acidic and can erode the enamel. So if you can’t completely avoid candy this Halloween, reach for plain chocolate candy bars without nuts or caramel or plain chocolate M&M’s.

About your Gary Dentist

Dr. Nicholas Cain provides stellar preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry in his comfortable Gary, IN office. To request an appointment with Healthy Smiles, contact us at 219-938-2637 or email We welcome patients living in and around Gary, Miller, and Miller Beach.