It’s that time of year. Costumes may already be picked out and your kids are probably counting down the days to Halloween. And no wonder: between parties at school and events around town and finally, trick-or-treating on October 31st, chances are that they will be accumulating piles of candy throughout the month. It’s every kid’s dream — but a potential nightmare for their oral health.
However, armed with knowledge about how to minimize candy’s damage and a plan in place for dealing with your children’s stashes, you can ensure they make it through the scary season with their teeth in good shape.
And don’t forget to schedule dental visits for every six months.
If you’ve been tasked with providing treats for a school party or other Halloween event, consider skipping edible goodies altogether. Your kids will be getting plenty of candy on Halloween night, believe us. And they love little gifts like seasonal pencils, erasers, and stickers. A dollar store is a great, inexpensive source for these. The children will be happy and parents will be thrilled to have one less piece of candy in the house.
Maybe you’d rather stay the more traditional route for Halloween night, and that’s fine. But when you’re at the store buying candy, skip the hard candies and chewy or gummy sweets. Choose treats that melt away quickly, like chocolate. And come on, who can argue with chocolate?
Keeping Your Kids’ Teeth Healthy
It’s Halloween. And we would never suggest you restrict your kids from eating any candy at all. You can be smart about it, though. As a parent, you can (and absolutely should) set limits and have rules in place. Here are some tips for keeping your kids’ teeth healthy even through this sugar-filled season!
- Your kids will be eating candy, so try to cut out other unnecessary sweets (a good thing to do no matter the time of year, actually). Soda’s combination of sugar and acid is really bad news for teeth. And a lot of snacks that we tend to think of as good for kids are not so much — at least when it comes to their dental health. Juice, chewy granola bars, fruit snacks, sweetened yogurt and pureed fruit pouches are packed with sugar.
- Encourage your kids to drink water throughout the day, and even while trick-or-treating. Drinking water between meals helps helps rinse away bacteria and food particles. If possible, give them tap water in a reusable bottle. Not only is this better for the environment than disposable water bottles, but tap water is fortified with enamel-strengthening fluoride.
- Rather than giving them free reign to munch on their sweet stash whenever and wherever, limit your kids’ candy consumption to after meals (and dole it out, one piece at a time, at least after the initial excitement of Halloween night is over). Saliva production is most active during mealtimes, and saliva helps to keep the mouth clean.
- Hungry trick-or-treaters will be tempted to fill up on candy along the route. Give your kids a substantial and well-balanced meal before they leave. This will fill them up so their stomachs have less room for sugar and empty calories.
- As always, make sure your kids practice good oral hygiene habits. They should brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes at a time. And floss daily. (Plastic floss picks are fine if regular string floss is too difficult for them to manage.) Younger kids should be closely supervised and assisted if necessary.
What to Do with the Stash
It’s the morning after Halloween. Your kids (and you) probably had a few pieces of candy the night before. You have plans to ration out more candy over the coming days. Even so, you will likely end up with a large amount left over. If you are like a lot of people, you may have trouble throwing stuff out. It just feels wasteful. So what do you do with that stash?
- Bring it to work. Leave it in a common area and it will disappear quickly.
- Donate it. There are organizations that collect Halloween candy to send to service members, for example.
- If your children will have trouble giving up their candy, it’s totally fine to bargain. Give them some control by allowing them to choose a few favorite treats to keep. Then offer to trade the rest for a toy, money, or whatever will appeal to them.
Follow these tips, and you can be sure your family’s oral health will stay strong through the Halloween season. If you live in the Edgewood, KY area, don’t forget to schedule your family’s next checkups at Edgewood Dental Care. Contact us through our online form or call (859) 474-7830.