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Little kids dressed in Halloween costumes.

There’s a chill in the air, the leaves are turning gold, and winter’s rains have already rolled in. With Halloween just around the corner, many neighborhoods are putting the finishing touches on their spooky decorations and stocking up on candy for the big night. But as you load bag after bag of sugary treats into your shopping cart, you might stop and wonder: is all this sugary candy bad for teeth? Unsurprisingly, the answer is yes. While we all love to see trick-or-treaters’ faces light up as they grab fistfuls of candy, the truth is that Halloween wreaks havoc on tooth enamel every year. So before you head to the checkout aisle with thirty pounds of candy, stop to consider a few candy alternatives for Halloween this year.

What Should I Give Out For Halloween?

No one wants to be that house: the one trick-or-treaters avoid because a knock on the door will yield a toothbrush or pack of floss. But with a bit of creativity, trick-or-treat candy alternatives don’t have to be a disappointment!

  • Toys. Most other houses in your neighborhood will be handing out candy, so why not give trick-or-treaters something they can enjoy without eating it? A large pack of bubble blowers, play-doh, glow sticks, or vampire teeth can make their Halloween night even more fun without the risk of tooth decay. 
  • Temporary Tattoos. Handing out some temporary body art in kid-friendly designs can be a safe and exciting thrill for kids on Halloween. 
  • Non-sugary snacks. Though it might not have the same wow factor as a bucket of candy, by the time kids have started eating through their sweets, they’ll be craving something more savory. Pretzels, nuts, low-fat popcorn packs, and goldfish are all options that kids can enjoy. 

These trick-or-treat candy alternatives for Halloween will all keep those smiles wide and cavity-free. These fun options take a more creative approach to Halloween treats, not just candy.

Is Candy That Bad For Teeth?

Frequent and extended exposure to sugar is the leading cause of cavities and tooth decay. With the all-you-can-eat sugar marathon that Halloween provides, many children will end up developing tooth problems without proper precautions. That’s what makes candy alternatives for Halloween so important.

If you’re already dead-set on handing out candy, you should choose the type of candy carefully. Avoid gummies, taffy, caramels, or any other sticky type of candy. These delicious treats are some of the worst for our teeth, as their sticky, sugary residue plasters itself to our teeth and can linger for far longer than other types of sugar. Sour candies are highly acidic and can quickly cause damage to tooth enamel, so it’s also best to avoid them. At the end of the day, candy alternatives for Halloween will always be the best option.

If you have little trick-or-treaters of your own, a few tips can make a big difference. Remind your kids about proper dental hygiene in the weeks before Halloween. Even after a candy feast, proper tooth care can help balance out many of the adverse effects. You might even want to schedule a dentist visit not too long after the big day–after all, the sugar onslaught of Christmas cookies will be here before we know it!