Dentists clean up the plaque Halloween leaves behind


The mounds of candy that come with Halloween may brighten the eyes of kids, both big and fun-sized, but the health affects of candy both on the body and the teeth make those charged with keeping people healthy cringe.

In 2010, $1.9 billion worth of candy was sold in the U.S., weighing in a 598 million pounds of tooth eating, sugary confection, according to the National Retail Federation.

Some in the dentistry field are offering a way to remove candy from American households following the second largest holiday for sweets behind Easter.

Drs. Carey and Jones, a pediatric dentistry and orthodontics office in Tallahassee, is combating the negative health effects that come with Halloween. Each year the office offers a candy buy back giving the community the opportunity to sell back some of the candy accumulated over the holiday. 

Halloween can definitely contribute to the problem of bad dental health, but it is not the only factor. Elena Chatel, a dentistry employee, said eating habits, not always sweets causes extra trips to the dentist.

 “It has to do with the diet, not the holidays,” Chantel said.

According to, plaque stays on the enamel of a tooth and eats sugar. This process creates acid that breaks down tooth enamel.

According to Dr. Kim Jernigan, president of the Florida Dental Association, simple habits can deter the build up of plaque and cavities. “Simple acts,” Jernigan said, “such as eating candy and/or other sugary substances with meals, avoiding hard and sticky candies, or simply drinking more water, are all examples of how good oral health can be preserved.”

The Food and Drug Administration has partnered up with PopCap Games, maker of the popular “Plants vs. Zombies” game, to launch their “Stop Zombie Mouth” campaign. 

The FDA has released trading cards that can be distributed as an alternative to candy to trick-or-treaters. The cards contain a code that will allow the recipient to download a free copy of the Plants vs. Zombies game.