Top 4 Worst Halloween Candy for Your Teeth, According to a Dentist

Updated: Mar. 14, 2022

Enjoying Halloween candy is part of the holiday fun, but too much candy can lead to cavities and tooth decay. Here is the worst candy for your teeth, according to a dentist.

The worst candy for your teeth

Yes, candy tastes good, but it’s not so great for your teeth. The reason candy is harmful to teeth is that bacteria in your mouth burn the sugar, creating acid as a byproduct, explains Matthew Messina, DDS, spokesperson for the American Dental Association. The acid then dissolves tooth enamel, which is what causes cavities.

With the help of Dr. Messina, we reveal the worst candy for your teeth to avoid this Halloween and all year long. (Opt for one of these healthy Halloween candies instead.)

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Sticky candy

Chewy candies, including taffy and anything gummy, are among the worst offenders because they linger in your mouth, which gives them additional time to cause tooth decay. Some are sticky and strong enough to pull out fillings, bridges, or braces.

Caramels are one of the worst dental offenders because they stick to teeth. They also latch on to expensive dental appliances like orthodontics. Like other sweets, caramels are best enjoyed after a meal. That way, brushing your teeth and flossing immediately after eating limits the amount of time the candy sticks around in your mouth.

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Sour candies

Sour candies are bad for teeth on two fronts: They contain both sugar and acid, according to Dr. Messina. Acid breaks down the enamel, which is the hard outer shell that protects your teeth. Like other sweet treats, limit how many sour candies you or your child enjoys in order to prevent long-term damage any day of the year. (When you brush, make sure to avoid this common toothbrushing mistake.)

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Lollipops actually do more harm than you might realize. Because they are meant to be enjoyed slowly, hard candies and their cousins on a stick linger longer, making it difficult for your saliva to do its job, which is to wash away and causing acid to build up in the mouth. Making sure that you properly care for your teeth as soon as the candy is gone can help prevent cavities. (See exactly how many calories are in your favorite Halloween candy.)

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Hard candies

Like lollipops, hard candies also stick around in your mouth a long time, meaning your teeth are exposed to sugar for much longer than treats you just chew quickly and swallow. Another peril of hard treats is that there’s always the temptation to bite down on them. Then, you can actually fracture a tooth if you’re not careful, cautions the American Dental Association.

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When it comes to oral hygiene, chocolate isn’t the worst thing you can find in your Halloween haul. Dr. Messina admits to being a fan of chocolate because it dissipates fairly quickly with saliva. Because chocolate doesn’t linger on the teeth for very long, it doesn’t pose as much of a risk for tooth decay as other Halloween candy options. Not to mention that chocolate bars are also among the healthier candy picks for Halloween treats. Like other Halloween candies, chocolates should still be consumed in moderation.