American Dental Association hopes to stop "Zombie Mouth" with healthy Halloween campaign

Candle-lit Halloween pumpkins.
Candle-lit Halloween pumpkins.
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

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It might seem surprising, but kids today are more savvy about sugar and sweets than you might think. A survey by the American Dental Association (ADA), says that that many young trick-or-treaters prefer treats other than candy.

The ADA survey is part of its “Stop Zombie Mouth” campaign to promote non-sugary treats for Halloween trick-or-treaters as part of good oral hygiene and good overall health.

The ADA partnered with Seattle-based PopCap Games interviewed 750 kids nationwide, ages five to 13. Two-thirds said they eat too much Halloween candy. Nearly half worry about getting cavities.

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The survey also found that 89 percent of the children said they would still enjoy Halloween – the favorite holiday of 65 percent of the kids surveyed - if there was more emphasis placed on fun and less placed on eating candy. Nearly all said they'd prefer a video game rather than candy while trick-or-treating.

To that end, the ADA and and PopCap Games is offering parents and dentists a free family-friendly video - Plants vs. Zombies - that they can give to trick-or-treaters on Halloween.