Halloween Candy: Dentist's Trick or Treat?

October 22, 2007 - Posted at 1:31 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -- Costumes and candy go hand in hand when Halloween rolls around, but days after the trick or treating is over, kids and parents will likely have a stash of sugar that could leave them on a sour note.

With trick or treat time nearly here, ghouls and goblins across Region 8 are getting ready to load up on Halloween loot, but some candies could be more dangerous than others.

"Look out for hard candies. sometimes with older kids and teenagers, the hard candy can actually cause fractures or breaks in teeth and then for kids and adults alike, the sticky candies, like caramels or Laffy Taffys those are the kind that really can get down into the grooves of teeth and cause cavities," said dentist Dr. Kristy Rowe.

Oral health experts long ago identified sugar as the monster behind tooth decay and cavities and while most dentists agree that kids can fight cavities with healthier treats, one way to sneak in some candy moderation is by adding a little bit of sugar free gum to those trick or treat baskets.

"After the kids have eaten all this candy, if they've got a pack of sugarless chewing gum, and the kids aren't going to care if it's sugar free or if it has sugar in it with chewing gum, that cuts down on the acid on the teeth, so that's good for your teeth," said Dr. Rowe.

Healthier snacks and even alternatives to candy can still be a treat.

"You also have a whole array of rings and stickers and pencils and there are a lot of good options now days so not to cause more harm than good," said Dr. Rowe, "The Halloween candy is not going to make your kids teeth fall out immediately. If they want to eat the Halloween candy, then eat the Halloween candy and then brush your teeth."

Dr. Rowe reminds that children and adults should have a dental checkup and cleaning twice a year....and after Halloween is always a good time to schedule one!