Whether you have little ghost and goblins around the house or not, the lure of Halloween candy and treats will be all around this month. If you do have young ones, there are a few tips we can offer before their inevitable increase of candy consumption.
- For Safety: Inspect any candy received during trick or treating adventures.
- For Health: Limit the amount of sweets they consume. Ensure they eat a large, healthy meal before they venture out (if they are not hungry, they will be less likely to sneak too many treats during their journey).
- For their teeth: Speak to us about dental sealants to offer increased protection for their teeth.
- Ensure they eat any treat during a short period of time (to reduce the exposure to their teeth). Encourage them to rinse with water immediately after they consume any sugary or starchy treat. Limit sticky and hard candies, especially for those with braces. Ensure they brush and floss at least twice daily.
- For you: Wait until a day or two before Halloween to purchase any candy. If it’s not in the house you won’t eat it.
- Stay away from the candies you bought for Trick or Treaters. If you need a treat, reward yourself with something responsible and more health conscious (a piece of imported dark chocolate often hits the spot).
Take any leftover candies to your office in the morning so they are not around your home to tempt you.
What Treats to Avoid:
It is almost impossible to completely avoid candy at Halloween. From school parties and trick-or-treating to gifts from relatives and candy exchanges among friends, Halloween activities revolve around sweet treats. So why not help your kids snack on candies that impact oral health the least?
You might think sticky, gooey candies would harm teeth the most, but they do not. Lollipops and hard candies lingering in your child’s mouth subject the teeth to the most dental damage. Unless you choose sugar-free hard candies, you are putting your child’s teeth at risk for prolonged acid attacks, which can lead to tooth decay.
If gourmet lollipops top the list of favorites at Halloween, try to take sips of water as you suck on the candy. Then follow up with a thorough tooth and tongue brushing, and rinse with a child-safe mouthwash to whisk away any lingering sugars.
From gummy worms to caramels, sticky candies are plentiful during Halloween. These soft candies tend to stick to the teeth and linger long after the treat has been enjoyed. To reduce dental damage, enjoy one piece at a time, and make sure your child chews it fully. It is a good idea to incorporate these treats into mealtime so that hard foods, such as carrot sticks or almonds, can help to dislodge the sticky treats from crevices in the teeth.
Surprisingly, one of the safest Halloween treats to enjoy is gum. Although it lingers in the mouth, gum stimulates extra saliva production, which naturally rinses the mouth and keeps plaque-causing bacteria at bay.
To keep your little one’s oral health on track, choose sugar-free, all-natural gum sweetened with fruit juices approved by the ADA. Always monitor your children when they chew gum to reduce risk of choking.
Your little ones can still enjoy sweet treats on Halloween, but take note of what these sugary snacks do to their oral health. Try to combine the sweets with food or water, follow up with a tooth brushing and choose sugar-free varieties as much as possible.More