In just a few hours, children across the country will be bringing home the spoils of their trick-or-treating crusades—a bounty that’s likely to contain a significant amount of candy. But while candy tends to be a big focus of Halloween, some kids say the sugary stuff isn’t their favorite part of the holiday.
A Halloween consumer study last year sponsored in part by the American Dental Association polled children ages 5 to 13. Of those surveyed, nearly nine out of 10 kids said they would still like Halloween if it was less about candy and more focused on other types of fun, while 42 percent of the young respondents said they worry about getting cavities from eating too much candy around the holiday.
The ADA this year says that while they don’t want to keep kids from enjoying some candy, they do want youths to practice good habits that will stave off the cavities that can come from the sweets.
One ADA pediatric dentist spokesman—Jonathan Shenkin, D.D.S.—recommends eating candy with meals instead of snacking on candy throughout the day. The latter subjects teeth to continuous acid attacks, which could lead to cavities. At mealtime, though, the mouth increases its production of saliva, which rinses food particles and neutralizes the acid that contributes to tooth decay.
Certain candies, officials add, are worse than others—gummies and taffy, for instance, stick to teeth, while hard candies remain in the mouth and eventually create acid that weakens tooth enamel.
More teeth-saving tips from the ADA can be found here.
Officials with The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have also compiled a list of things children can do to keep their teeth safe during the holiday. The tips are included in a Halloween safety guide aimed at both kids and adults.
For those going trick-or-treating tonight, you can likely expect a lot of mini- and bite-size candy bars. NPD Group, a marketing research company, announced in its Halloween Holiday Profile Report that 82 percent of treat givers hand those types of candies out, though nearly half offer multiple types of treats, such as lollipops, gummy candy and other assorted candies.