Worst Types of Halloween Candy for Your Oral Health

CAMP HILL, Pa. (Oct. 16, 2023) — Whether it’s gummy, sticky or hard candy, indulging in treats during the Halloween season can be a horror for your oral health. But not all sweets impact your mouth equally — United Concordia Dental offers a list of the worst offenders.

According to the National Confectioners Association, 98% of Americans who welcome trick-or-treaters this year will be offering chocolate and other candies, with the holiday generating $6 billion in candy retail sales annually.

“Sharing candy with family and friends is a fun way to celebrate the holiday season, but it can also be harmful to your oral health,” said Katie Deffke, DDS, dental director, United Concordia Dental. “The sugar from the sweets interacts with the plaque bacteria surrounding your teeth to form acids that erode the hard surface of your tooth enamel, causing cavities.”

And some sweet treats are more harmful than others. The following have the highest risk of damaging your teeth:

Gummy and Sticky Candy
The consistency of things like gummy worms and caramel are extra chewy, making it easy to get pieces stuck in the crevices of your teeth. The leftover candy is often hard to remove — even after brushing — allowing longer exposure to the sugar, which can lead to decay.

Hard Candy
When you eat hard candies like lollipops and butterscotch discs, they take a long time to dissolve, increasing the amount of sugar exposure to your teeth and the risk of cavities forming. Their solid forms make chipping or breaking a tooth while enjoying them possible as well.

Sour Candy
Whether gummy or hard, sour confections are both covered in a layer of sugar and extremely acidic. The extra sugars and acids can break down the protective tooth enamel, leaving teeth more prone to tooth decay and breakage.

“Dark or milk chocolate candy is actually the best option — it can easily be removed with brushing and doesn’t linger on your teeth,” said Deffke. “Whatever the choice, eating sugary foods in moderation and practicing a regular dental hygiene routine are key to keeping your mouth healthy and cavity free.”

For more oral health tips, visit the Oral Health Resources section at

Suzanne Cibotti
United Concordia Dental

Leilyn Perri
Highmark Health

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