MINNEAPOLIS, MNThis Halloween the Minnesota Dental Association advises treat-givers to make tooth-healthy choices and to pass on popular sour candy options. They might seem harmless, but these tricky treats may haunt teeth later on.

Candies promising a sweet and sour or “extreme sour” experience are very acidic. The acid in sour candies weakens and wears away tooth enamel, which is essential to healthy teeth. It can cause tooth decay and contribute to cavities. In some cases, the damage can be severe and lead to permanent tooth loss.

Fortunately, a variety of healthy alternatives are available. Here are some tooth-healthy ideas:

  • Sugarless gum
  • Stickers
  • Pencils or crayons
  • Bags of trail mix or peanuts in the shell
  • Juice boxes (100% juice)
  • Small chocolate candies (without caramel or components that will stick to teeth)

If you have a trick-or-treater that does eat sour candy, suggest they eat cheese or drink milk afterwards, or swish their mouth with water, to neutralize the acids. Brush two times a day using fluoride toothpaste and a soft toothbrush – and don’t forget to floss. Most of all, protect teeth throughout the year by reducing or eliminating sour candies from your treat list.

The Minnesota Dental Association and its members have taken a national lead in educating parents, teachers, and children with a campaign called The Power of Sour on Your Teeth. Find out more at www.powerofsour.com.

The Minnesota Dental Association is the voice of dentistry in Minnesota, representing practicing dentists. It is committed to the highest standards of oral health and access to care for all Minnesotans. You can learn more at www.mndental.org.