Not All Halloween Candy Affects Teeth the Same: What Is the Best and Worst?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Halloween is right around the corner. As parents, we know the drill. Our kids put copious amounts of time into choosing the perfect costumes, rally their friends and map out plans of attack to collect the most possible candy in one evening. We’re caught somewhere between, “That sounds like the most epic Halloween ever, kids!” and “No child’s teeth can handle all that candy!”

In light of this pre-Halloween parent panic, we thought it would be helpful to take a little time to explain how different types of candy affect teeth differently.

Halloween candy worst offenders

Some candies are particularly problematic for dental health.

Hard sugar candy

halloween candyCandy on a stick, such as lollipops or rock candy, is meant to be enjoyed over time. Because it lingers in your mouth, it increases the production of saliva. However, instead of the saliva doing its job and rinsing bacteria out of your mouth, it only spreads the sugar around. Additionally, your mouth produces acid in an attempt to destroy the sticky sugar that then coats your teeth. The acid and sugar team up to break down tooth enamel and, with repeat exposure, can result in tooth decay.

Another threat to teeth from hard candy is the temptation to bite down on it, hence the candy we fondly know as “jawbreakers.” Biting down on hard candy can easily result in broken or chipped teeth and sometimes upset the jaw muscles so much, pain results.

Chewy candy

Just like candy on a stick, chewy candy lingers in the mouth. It gets stuck in your molars and between your teeth. If you’ve ever eaten Laffy Taffy, Sugar Babies or caramels, you know exactly what we’re talking about. Gummy candies or fruit snacks might seem like safer bets but they aren’t any better. They still contain sugar and get trapped in your molars and small crevices between your teeth.

Oh, and watch out for those delicious caramel apple suckers. Between the caramel, hard sugar candy and the fact that they’re meant to be savored, they can really wreak some dental havoc.

Sour candy

You might be wondering where sour candy fits into the picture. Warheads, Sour Patch Kids, Sour Skittles…kids LOVE sour candy and love to challenge themselves and their friends to eat large quantities of it or hold the sour candy in their mouths for long periods of time.

Unfortunately, sour candy attacks your teeth from two angles. Sour candy is both sweet and acidic. The sugar sticks to your teeth while the acid breaks down your enamel. Many sour candies are also sticky, further exacerbating the ill effects.

Does this mean your children can’t eat the hard and sugary, chewy or sour candies they rake in on Oct. 31? Not necessarily. However, armed with a little knowledge, you can avoid passing them out to the neighborhood kids and explain to your children why it’s important to limit their consumption of these sticky stinkers. Then remind them to brush and floss their teeth afterward to clean their mouths and remove any lodged sugar.

Halloween candy best choices

Sugar-free hard candy

Like its sugar-laden counterpart, sugar-free hard candy encourages the production of saliva which rinses bacteria from your mouth. However, sugar-free candy doesn’t cause the production of acid or stick to your teeth—a win for your pearly whites…and your sweet tooth!


One of the most popular categories of Halloween candy are chocolates. While many have sticky centers like Twix, Rollos or Snickers, others like Hershey’s bars and Nestle Crunch dissipate quickly in your mouth, making them more dental-friendly than almost any other candy.

Sugar-free gum

While it’s not technically considered candy, sugar-free gum—much like sugar-free candy—helps your mouth produce saliva which rinses your teeth and helps ward against destructive bacteria. If you’re looking for a healthy option to hand out at the door this year (and don’t want to be the neighbor handing out mini bags of baby carrots!) consider giving out packs of sugar-free gum. Almost all kids love to chew gum, it’s allergen-friendly and will help cleanse their mouths from all the sugary, sticky, sour madness.

If you haven’t already, give us a call at 651.428.9691 to schedule your family members’ recare visits. Dr. Elizabeth, Dr. Jeff and our hygienists are here to help you keep your teeth clean and enjoy a healthy smile for life.

Meet Your Hygiene Team

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

In case you didn’t know, October is National Dental Hygiene Month! We want to observe the month by taking some time to introduce ourselves and tell you a little about the history of Eggert Family Dentistry and what we’re all about.

In 2005, Dr. Elizabeth acquired an existing dental practice in North Oaks, a northern St. Paul suburb, and we’ve been operating out of this same building for the past 15 years, just moving down the hall in 2015 to a larger location. We are a family-friendly practice, offering services for patients of all ages. Our services run the gamut from general dentistry to cosmetic work and from orthodontics to full-mouth reconstructions. Our motto is “Dentistry for a Lifetime of Smiles,” and we work hard to that end, partnering with each of our patients to help them achieve a healthy and beautiful smile that will truly last a lifetime. 

Here we highlight our Hygiene Team and thank them for all the wonderful service they provide our patients!


“I enjoy working at Eggert Family Dentistry because we have a fun working atmosphere. Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff care for their patients and provide the best dental care for them.”

When she’s not at the office, Joanna enjoys being outside and spending time with family and friends. She resides in Blaine with her husband, Jeffrey, and their four children – Kyle, Kylie, Rylie and Bentley. 



“I continue to love this profession! The quality of care I have had the privilege to provide over the years has been a direct reflection on those I have served. Meeting patients’ needs through listening, hands-on care and education has been so fulfilling. Our patients are the reason we do what we do.”

Shelly and her husband Ross, have lived in Shoreview for over 25 years. They have twin sons and a daughter, all just on the cusp of adulthood! As a family, they enjoy spending time at their Wisconsin cabin. Shelly loves to cook and enjoys fellowship with others.


“It is a pleasure to be part of the Eggert Family Dentistry team! We strive to make each visit a pleasant experience and to create a trusting relationship with each patient. I enjoy being part of a team that provides attentive care and top-notch education to help our patients maintain optimal health using the latest technology.”

Lea resides in White Bear Lake with her husband Dan and their two kids – Jonathan and Lauren. They also love their one-year-old black lab, Louie. Lea spends her free time in the garden, going to the cabin, reading and watching her kids play sports.


“At Eggert Family Dentistry, our entire team strives to make every patient our number one priority. We provide exceptional, personalized care in a small office setting. I enjoy working with Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff and contributing to the overall patient experience.”

Cassie grew up in Ramsey and graduated from Anoka High School. She now lives in Andover with her husband Jim and their twin boys, Zack and Ryan, and their daughter, Abby. Cassie stays busy with her kids’ activities – baseball, basketball, track and competitive dance. She also enjoys tennis and fun times at the lake boating, swimming and kayaking.

If you’d like to learn more about Eggert Family Dentistry and the services we provide, give us a call at 651.482.8412. We would be happy to connect with you!

Eggert Family Dentistry Scholarships – Helping Students Since 2005

Have you or someone you know ever considered a career in dentistry? There are nearly 200,000 practicing dentists in the United States as well as hundreds of thousands more people working as dental hygienists, assistants, administrators, and lab technicians who are enjoying fulfilling careers, competitive salaries and a quality work/life balance within the dental industry.

Opportunities and Specialties

When we think about dentistry, most of us imagine a traditional dentist office setting. According to the ADA, however, there are countless professional dentistry opportunities in other areas as well. “Today’s dental school graduates can choose to work in hospital emergency rooms, conduct advanced laboratory research, teach future dentists or even travel the world with international health and relief organizations.”

The ADA recognizes nine specialties within the industry: dental public health, endodontics, oral and maxillofacial pathology/radiology/surgery, orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, and prosthodontics.

Dental Education

Typically, DDS/DMD programs are four-year programs. Dental specialties require additional years of study above and beyond those four years. With over 65 dental schools throughout the country, dental school is highly competitive and requires a substantial financial investment. In fact, over 90% of dental students finance their education through the use of student loans.

Eggert Family Dentistry Scholarships

Eggert Family Dentistry is invested in the future of dentistry and believes that the cost of dental education shouldn’t prohibit anyone from pursuing their dreams. This is why, since 2005, Dr. Eggert has been making a difference in the lives of countless young people by awarding $2000 each year to four high school seniors from the following local schools: Mounds View, Irondale, Centennial and Spring Lake Park.

The goal of the scholarships is to get them in the hands of students pursuing a career in the dental industry. This means not only students planning on becoming a dentist, but the scholarships are given to future dental assistants, hygienists, and lab technicians as well. There are currently many opportunities in the dental industry, especially for axillary team members.

If you know a well-deserving senior from one of these schools that you would like to nominate for an Eggert Family Denistry scholarship, submit one to two paragraphs about why you believe this person should be awarded the scholarship. All nominations must be received before March of each year. Scholarship winners will join the ranks of these fine former recipients.

If you would like to know more about careers in dentistry, we would be happy to speak with you! Or, we have had students shadow at our office in the past as well. This is a great way to learn more about this exciting career path. Call us at 651-482-8412 to set something up.

Humans versus Animals: Teeth Edition!

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Eggert Family VacationThis summer, Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff took their boys on the iconoclastic “South Dakota Family Vacation.” They were lucky to visit the monuments and climb around all the amazing rocks of the Black Hills. But, one of the most amazing places was the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, South Dakota. They had very interesting information about mammoth teeth and it got us thinking, “How similar are human and animal teeth?”

Humans spend a lot of time and energy keeping their pearly whites in good working order. We visit the dentist and brush and floss our teeth regularly. With animals, it’s a different story. Unless you brush your pets’ teeth, animal chompers aren’t cleaned regularly. So how do their teeth compare to ours?

Animal and human teeth are essentially the same.

Mammoth toothBoth human and animal teeth are made of calcium, phosphorus, and mineral salts. Adult humans have 32 teeth, including eight incisors and four canines for cutting and tearing. The rest are molars that come in before and during puberty.

Thirty-two might seem like a lot of teeth, but lots of animals have many, many more. Here are just a few examples:

  • hippos have 40 teeth
  • armadillos have 100 teeth
  • dolphins have 250 teeth

Snails do not have backbones, but they do have a lot of teeth. Their tongues contain more than 25,000 tiny, sharp teeth! Limpets, an aquatic snail, have the strongest teeth on Earth. They are made of protein and goethite, an iron-based mineral.

Big animal, big teeth . . . or not.

Mammoth TeethElephants are huge animals, so it makes sense that their teeth are proportionately large. A single elephant molar can weigh up to 10 pounds. Elephants also grow a new set of teeth every 10 years or so.  This is very similar to the mammoths. This is usually how paleontologists can verify the age of the mammoths we saw as fossils. Mammoths developed six sets of teeth over their lifetime.

But the largest animal on Earth, the blue whale, has no teeth at all. Instead, it has long plates of keratin called baleen. It is the same substance that makes up human fingernails. Baleen strains tiny creatures called krill out of the water. Blue whales swallow the krill whole.

Humans have the upper hand on oral hygiene.

Though hippos and shrimp may have more teeth than humans do, we do a far better job at keeping our chompers clean and healthy. Humans have cleaned their teeth since at least 5,000 BCE. Egyptians mixed pumice with ox hooves’ ashes and burnt eggshells to create toothpaste. Colgate began mass producing toothpaste in 1873.

The first toothbrush was invented in Egypt in 3,500 BCE. It was a twig with a frayed end. The first natural bristle toothbrush was invented in China in the 15th century, and the first modern one was invented in 1938 in the United States.

Do your oral hygiene habits resemble a mammoth’s more than a human’s? It’s time to schedule an appointment with Eggert Family Dentistry! Email Eggert Family Dentistry or call (651) 482-8412 today.

Bon Voyage and Good Luck, Candy!

Candy SinaCandy Sina is stepping away from her position as Eggert Family Dentistry’s financial and insurance coordinator to run for state office. Candy is running for the Minnesota State Senate in district 42.

We will miss the hard work Candy did for our clinic over the last four years. She was excellent at helping our patients get their insurance claims paid. Candy worked in dentistry for over 40 years and already retired once before joining the Eggert Family Dentistry team. We were lucky to have her as long as we did!

As we wish Candy good luck with her campaign, we are in the process of hiring her replacement. We appreciate the patience of our patients as we work to find our next financial and insurance coordinator.

We hope Candy wins her election and can help us improve the state’s dental situation for all patients and providers. Check out her website for more information and look for her campaign truck on the streets of Shoreview. Bon voyage and good luck, Candy!

Candy Sina Campaign Truck

Meet Eggert Family Dentistry’s Dr. Jeff!

Meet Dr. Jeff Eggert of Eggert Family Dentistry!By Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Eggert Family Dentistry’s Dr. Jeff loves being able to have a positive, personal effect on his patients’ lives. Here’s your chance to get to know Dr. Jeff in his own words, including something most of his patients don’t know about him.

Why did you choose to go into dentistry?

The main reason I went into dentistry was to have a hands-on, personal, positive impact on people’s lives. Before dentistry, I worked as a chemical engineer at a small medical device company. Designing devices had a positive impact on people’s lives, but I did not have the opportunity to build relationships with the people I helped.

What sets you apart from other dentists?

The one thing that sets me apart from other dentists is that I always try to listen to any concerns people have and make sure these concerns are addressed. I spend the time to thoroughly answer my patients’ questions, whether it is a question about a filling or something more complex that might have multiple treatment options. I like to make sure patients’ questions are answered and that they are comfortable with the treatment they receive.

Tell us about your family.

I grew up in Spring Lake Park and attended Spring Lake Park schools. I have one younger brother who teaches there, and my parents still live there. Dr. Elizabeth and I will be married 17 years in July. We have five boys who seem to be growing like weeds. They attend school in the Mounds View district.

What are some of your hobbies outside of dentistry?

I enjoy reading and trying to stay in shape (keyword: trying!). I spend a lot of time in basketball gyms and at baseball and soccer fields watching our boys play sports. I like to help out with their sports teams when and where I can. Lastly, along with many other Minnesotans, I like to cheer for teams that often don’t do very well (for me, that’s the Vikings, the Twins, and the Gophers).

What is something most of your patients don’t know about you?

I worked a number of years as a chemical engineer before becoming a dentist. I’m proud to call myself a math and science geek. I’m also a big Star Wars fan and can’t begin to count how many times I’ve seen all the movies.

Dr. Jeff’s Hours at Eggert Family Dentistry

Monday:  10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Wednesday:  by appointment

Friday:  7:00 am to 3:00 pm

Schedule your appointment today!