Halloween is just around the corner! It’s the season for costumes, spooks, and of course… candy. As a parent who is concerned for their child’s dental health, the idea of a holiday centered around sugary candy may make you cringe. But luckily, there are some ways your child can enjoy Halloween traditions without sabotaging their teeth. It’s all about the balance. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
Stay Away From Sticky Candies
When choosing candies for Halloween, try to stay away from caramels, taffy, and other really sticky, chewy candies. These candies tend to cling to the teeth, promoting plaque formation and decay long after your child indulges. Chocolate bars are actually a good choice since your child will chew and swallow them in a relatively short period of time. Powdered candies, such as Pixie Sticks, are also a good choice since they dissolve quickly.
Enjoy Sweet Treats With Meals
Do not simply let your child munch on candy all day, every day until it is gone. This snacking behavior ensures the teeth are covered in sugar all day long, which will allow oral bacteria to grow out of control. Instead, let your child indulge in a couple of pieces of candy each day after mealtime. When your child has recently eaten a meal, their salivary glands are more active, so the sugar is rinsed off the teeth faster. Only allowing candy at mealtime also shortens the duration of sugar exposure.
Serve Healthy Snacks at Parties
There’s so much candy going around this season! If you host a Halloween party for your child and their friends, make a point to offer some healthy snacks to balance out all of those sweets. Apples cut like jack-o-lanterns, spaghetti arranged to look like bloody guts, and banana slices placed on sticks to look like ghosts are all good choices. If your child is invited to a party, offer to provide healthy snacks for all. Your child will probably still eat some candy during the celebration, but at least their diet for the evening won’t be 100-percent sugar!
Limit the Trick-or-Treating
If trick-or-treating is a tradition in your household, consider putting a time limit on it. If you only allow your kids to go out for an hour or two, they won’t have quite as much candy to enjoy in the coming weeks. Plan other fun activities, like a board game night or a scary movie viewing party, so they don’t feel deprived when you tell them they need to be home from trick-or-treating by a certain hour.
Send a Toothbrush to School
Even if you don’t normally send your child to school with a toothbrush, you might want to do so during this candy-eating season. A mid-day brushing can get rid of sugar after your child accepts a treat from a friend on the bus or during first period.
Can Halloween traditions and healthy teeth coexist? Absolutely! Stick to the tips above so your child’s smile stays clean and bright.