Halloween is another one of those “candy holidays” where kids are inundated with treats, which can do a number on your teeth, and your overall health. Not to mention the health of the adults who sneak candy after bedtime! While treats in moderation are certainly harmless, here are a few tips for a healthier Halloween (without giving up the candy altogether!).
1. Be a part of the solution.
With the amount of candy available, trick-or-treaters are often excited with a small toy (eraser, play-doh, yo-yo’s, etc. are great options) , bags or chips or pretzels for lunches, or other fun items.
2. Offer a trade-out.
Offer your kids a desired item, money, or special privilege in exchange for some or all of their Halloween candy.
3. Discourage candy with prolonged contact with the teeth or sticky offerings.
Discard lollipops, hard candies, and caramels which take a long time to eat and coat your teeth with sugar. If your child has braces or other orthodontic equipment, follow your orthodontist’s guidelines and avoid gum, tootsie roll type candies, caramels, and anything else that may pull out brackets.
4. Monitor candy consumption.
Don’t allow the Halloween candy to become a free for all. Dole out pieces in appropriate amounts.
5. Encourage and model good dental hygiene habits.
Most importantly, guide your children as they learn to brush twice a day and floss daily. Encourage children to brush their teeth themselves, but as appropriate, also brush missed spots with younger children. Be sure your children see you modeling good dental hygiene habits–actions speak louder than words!
6. This tip is for the adults too–eat candy while it is fresh!
Many candies become harder or chewier over time, which can be damaging to teeth or any crowns or sealants you might have. Unfortunately, many adults find themselves snacking on leftover Halloween candy well into the Christmas season (it’s okay–you aren’t alone!). Discard any older candy to prevent temptation–or an emergency trip to the dentist!