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Massachusetts Dentists Take the Fright Out of Halloween’s Effects on Teeth

Dentists Participate in Candy Give-Backs and Donate to a Good Cause

SOUTHBOROUGH, Mass.October 25, 2018 – With Halloween just around the corner, Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) member dentists across the Commonwealth are making plans to host “Halloween Candy Give-Backs” at their local dental offices. To encourage children to unload excess sweets and curb damage to their teeth, dentists are collecting candy for nonprofit organizations such as Operation Gratitude, which ships care packages to American troops serving overseas.

While consuming several pieces of candy in celebration of Halloween may not immediately harm one’s teeth, excessive and continuous candy consumption can certainly have an effect. Too much exposure to sugary candies and snacks can eventually lead to tooth decay, especially in young children’s teeth.

“Teeth are more susceptible to decay during the first few years after eruption in the mouth,” said MDS President Dr. Howard M. Zolot. “Since children are getting teeth until around age 13, they have a higher vulnerability for decay.

“The frequency of sugar consumption has a lot to do with how cavity-causing decay forms in the mouth,” Dr. Zolot added. “Parents should be diligent in making sure that children brush and floss their teeth right after eating candy, and don’t let them go to sleep without brushing away the sugary residue from their teeth.”

The best advice for parents is to not let Halloween treats hang around the house for too long. Parents may wish to consider allowing their kids to have a few pieces of candy each night for one week, and then donating the rest. 

Tyngsboro Family Dental Practice is just one dental office hosting a Halloween Candy Give-Back event. It will be the practice’s second year collecting candy in support of Operation Gratitude. Last year, the practice collected more than 50 pounds of candy, which it donated along with toothbrushes for the troops. The practice promoted the event on its Facebook page and encouraged patients to participate by giving away raffle tickets for prizes such as store gift cards and passes to a local trampoline park and bowling alley.

“We really enjoy hosting the program because it is a nice way to support our troops and give them a small reminder of home,” said Dr. Hanna Cao. “The event is also a great opportunity to teach our little ones the importance of gratitude and giving to others. We were pleasantly surprised that many children came in to donate their own candy!”

Bouchard Dental in West Springfield also will collect candy for Operation Gratitude through November 7.

“I love Halloween and I know all of the kids love trick-or-treating,” said Dr. Kelly Bouchard. “Let's admit it, candy is delicious, we all know that. But, unfortunately, it's bad for our teeth. Eating candy for a few days or even a week is fine, but these days kids collect enough candy to last them for months!

“The problems arise when kids are consuming candy every night,” Dr. Bouchard continued. “After about a week, I think it's time to stop enjoying the candy in order to prevent cavities. So, instead of throwing it all away, why not donate it and share it!?”

Letting kids enjoy their Halloween candy in moderation won’t be harmful so long as they have good oral health habits. This will ensure that their smiles stay healthy well beyond the most “frightening” time of the year.

About the Massachusetts Dental Society

The Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS), a professional association representing 5,000+ member dentists and a statewide constituent of the American Dental Association, is dedicated to the professional development of its member dentists through initiatives in education, advocacy, the promotion of the highest professional standards, and championing oral health in the Commonwealth. For more information, visit, and follow the MDS on Twitter @MassDental.