If you already stocked up your Halloween candy supply, check your stash or consider your purchases for the choices many dentists suggest are more harmful to children than others.

A new survey is revealing the top candy choice of trick-or-treaters in Washington.

Candy-Store-dot-com says Tootsie Pops is the most popular candy in the state, followed by salt water taffy and M&Ms.  The findings are largely based on the past 16 years of sales data in the months leading up to Halloween.

I'm not a dentist but here is a rundown on what dental professionals advise for your Halloween candy offerings.

The Top Candy Types to Avoid

Chewy candies tend to stick to your teeth and harbor harmful bacteria.  The bacteria produces enamel eroding acid that can lead to tooth decay.  Look for ingredients like nougat and toffee.

Sugar-free candies can be high in citric acid which can wear down tooth enamel.

Sour candies have very high level of acid.  Prolonged exposure to the high pH levels found in many sour candies can break down tooth enamel.

Gummy candies like chewy candy varieties tend to stick in the crevices between teeth and can be difficult to remove despite good brushing practices.  This can foster cavity- causing bacteria.

Hard candies present two threats to teeth; either a danger of chipping by trying to crush them or prolonged exposure to the sugar they contain when sucking them for an extended period.

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Are There Better Choices?

Consider handing out Sugar-free gum.  It helps with saliva production which can neutralize enamel damaging acid in the mouth and improve dental health.

Hand out pre-packaged popcorn, a less sugary choice than most candy.

Nuts like almonds or peanuts have little to no sugar content and are a healthier dental option.  Consider whether the child is old enough to understand the risk of accepting these treats if they have allergy concerns.

Yogurt or chocolate covered raisins contain sugar but they are a better option than sticky, toffee or caramel candy.

You may not have heard of Smarties but this variety of candy is quick dissolving so there is not as much sugar exposure time on a child's teeth.

Remember Pixie sticks?  Similar powdered candies that dissolve quickly can be a better option than sticky or chewy candy selections because they don't tend to bathe the teeth with prolonged exposure or foster as much harmful bacteria.  They sour varieties could have some of the high acidic properties that can be harmful to tooth enamel.

So what might be the best candy to hand out to Trick-Or Treaters?

Chocolate is probably the best option, or the safest option of all.  Chocolate is a fairly fast dissolving candy and does not tend to to stick between teeth so the problems with the sticky, chewy varieties of candy are avoided.  Dark chocolate has less sugar content than milk chocolate and is rich in antioxidants and it's probably the candy you won't mind having any leftovers, right?  So maybe pick up an extra bag, just in case! You don't want to run short.

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