A survey of dentists finds about two-thirds of them say they hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, a small percentage give out toothbrushes or fruit and nearly a quarter offer no treats at all. Suzanne Heckenlaible, executive director of the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation, says a majority of dentists who drop candy in the kids’ bags give out the same kind of treat.

“Most dentists do hand out candy and hand out something, at least, during Halloween,” Heckenlaible says. “Our study shows about 79% of the dentists chose chocolate as their candy of choice.” She says chocolate is the best candy to pass out as it dissolves quickly in the mouth and decreases the amount of time sugar is in contact with teeth.

“What we find with tooth decay is the continued amount of time the sugar reacts with the bacteria in the mouth can cause tooth decay,” Heckenlaible says. “The chewy, sticky kind of candy does not dissolve quickly in the mouth, gets stuck between the molars and in between your teeth. Those are concerns for us.”

She says Halloween is the ideal time for parents to school their ghouls about the benefits of moderation. “Certainly, what’s important is that night of, to make sure your child has a good, full, healthy meal prior to going out trick-or-treating,” Heckenlaible says. “That will potentially reduce the amount of temptation to consume as much candy as they really want to.”

She encourages parents to promote good oral health care habits year-round, including, twice-daily brushing with fluoridated toothpaste, daily flossing and regular dental checkups.

For more tips, visit:  www.trickytreats.org