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Children with parent dressed in halloween costumes

Low-sugar trick or treat swaps this Halloween

Halloween is one of the scariest seasons for our teeth. With buckets of sweets filling supermarket shelves, it can be hard to find a low-sugar alternative to give out to trick or treaters.

It’s important to limit the sugar we eat, to prevent damage to our teeth. Certain bacteria that naturally lives in our mouths, thrives on sugar. When sugar combines with these bacteria, it creates acid in the mouth. This acid slowly chips away at the enamel that protects your teeth, eventually causing tooth decay.

Fear not, we’ve put together some easy but delicious sugar swaps you can make to keep your mouth healthy this Halloween.

Bowl of dark chocolate pieces in blue bowl

1. Dark Chocolate

For a simple swap, dark chocolate usually contains less sugar than milk chocolate. Dark chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa solids, which means the sugar content is often lower.1

If you don't have dark chocolate bars to give away, why not make dark chocolate covered strawberries or almonds as a treat instead?

Monsters made of apple slices with strawberry tongues and peanut butter

2. Apple and peanut butter monsters

These apple and peanut butter-based treats make for the perfect spooky sugar swap. Simply stuff your apple slices with peanut butter, a strawberry for a tongue and decorate with low-sugar marshmallow eyeballs.

Bowl of plain popcorn in a brown bowl

3. Popcorn

Plain popcorn is a tasty snack, that comes without the risk of tooth decay. Plain popcorn is sugar-free, but still delicious, making it a great alternative this Halloween.

Bananas halved with chocolate drops ghost shaped

4. Banana ghosts

Make your Halloween spook-tacular this month with these simple banana ghouls! Simply chop up some bananas and add dark chocolate drops for the eyes and mouth.

Rows of glazed toffee apples on sticks

5. Homemade toffee apples

Toffee apples are a classic Halloween treat, but they also contain lots of sugar. Instead of using toffee or caramel this year, make yours using either peanut or almond butter. Top with desiccated coconut to finish.

What to do if you're consuming high amounts of sugar this Halloween

If you or your family are eating lots of sugar this Halloween, there’s a couple of simple tips you can use to protect your family’s teeth: 

Use the traffic light system when buying food: Check your food packaging and avoid foods which have a 'red' sugar label. Aim for a 'green' label if you can. If the food doesn't have traffic light labels, aim for items with less than 5g of sugar per 100g2.

Don't spread out your sugar consumption: Sugar is more damaging if it keeps eating away at the enamel that protects your teeth. If you’re going to consume sugary treats, try to eat them in one go rather than spreading them out across the day. This way, your teeth only get one sugar hit. Eating sugar with meals can also help limit the acidity in your mouth.

Avoid sticky or gooey sweets: Chewy sweets can stick to your teeth for longer, meaning its hard to get the residue out of your mouth and they will continue to eat away at your tooth enamel. Choose foods which won’t get stuck in your teeth, limiting the damage they can do to your mouth.

Regular dental check-ups and hygiene appointments are also recommended to keep your mouth healthy.

Find your local Bupa Dental Care practice

Bupa Dental Care is a leading provider of NHS and private dental care, offering services at over 350 practices across the UK. To find your nearest practice, search below.

Find your local practice

1-Diabetes.co.uk: Diabetes and chocolate.

2-NHS live well: How to read food labels.

Bupa Dental Care is a trading name of Oasis Healthcare Limited. Registered in England and Wales number: 03257078. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom BS16 1GW.

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