Tend to Your Teeth: Which 5 Halloween Candies to Eat and to Avoid

Forget spooky ghouls and goblins — for dentists, candy is the scariest thing about Halloween. In 2012, the incidence of cavities among preschoolers was on the rise for the first time in 40 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Poor dietary choices contribute to this increase in dental health problems.

To protect your kids’ pearly whites, teach them about smart candy choices this Halloween season. To make the message stick, use coloring sheets such as those on the Kool Smiles app to educate kids about how to keep their teeth clean after eating favorite candies.

Halloween Candy
Photo by Flickr user JefferyTurner

Avoid: Snickers Bar

Snickers bars are a perennial favorite with kids, but they are chock full of sugar and saturated fat. A Snickers bar offers a layer of nougat topped with creamy caramel and crunchy peanuts, covered in milk chocolate. Those numerous layers pack more and more sugar into each bite. A 2-ounce Snickers bar contains nearly 300 calories and 16 grams of total fat. That same little bar packs 26 grams of sugar.

Instead of eating a Snickers, hand your child a 100 Grand bar. With 90 calories, two grams of saturated fat and 10 grams of sugar, a 100 Grand bar satisfies caramel cravings without sacrificing health.

Avoid: Airheads

Fruity candies may seem innocuous, but they can pack a major sugar punch. Airheads come in a variety of flavors, ranging from blue raspberry to watermelon. However, they contain 140 calories, 1.5 grams of fat and a whopping 19 grams of sugar. To achieve the fruity flavor and fun blue tongue that comes with sucking on Airheads, encourage your kids to try a sucker instead. A single Dum Dum sucker has just 25 calories and 11 grams of sugar.

Avoid: 3 Musketeers

Chocoholics love the whipped chocolate center of a 3 Musketeers bar, but your kids won’t like the dental problems that come with eating them. A fun-sized 3 Musketeers bar has 190 calories, 6 grams of fat and 30 grams of sugar. That’s almost as much as a can of Coke. To get the chocolate without as much sugar, tempt your kids with Ghirardelli dark chocolate squares. A square of chocolate contains 52 calories and four grams of sugar.

Avoid: Brach’s Caramels

Those little squares of Brach’s caramels don’t seem so bad, but they’re a huge source of sugar. Just four caramel squares equal 160 calories, nearly 5 grams of fat and 16 grams of sugar. If your kids like to gnaw on chewy candies, swap the Brach’s caramels for Tootsie Rolls. Two Tootsie Rolls contain 50 calories, one gram of fat and six grams of sugar.

Avoid: Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins

Reese’s candies simply scream Halloween to some kids, but the peanut buttery treats are tough on teeth. A serving of peanut butter pumpkins contains 170 calories, 10 grams of fat and 17 grams of sugar. Eating a small handful of candy corn instead provides 60 calories, no fat and 12 grams of sugar.

Randi Cork

Randi is a mom and grade school teacher who blogs about parenting, the environment and green living.

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