More fun and less fright for parents and kids
Halloween is just around the corner, and for many children, that means a big bag of chocolate and sweets. The sugar in these candies is never a good thing for their teeth (or yours, if you also indulge). Here are a few ideas as to how you can limit the impact of all the Halloween treats on your child’s teeth.
The Worst Offenders
Certain treats are particularly bad from a dental perspective. Soft and sticky treats, such as caramels or jujubes, tend to get stuck between the teeth, while hard candies, such as lollipops, provide long-lasting sugar sources for the mouth bacteria. It’s best to avoid these types of candies. A better alternative to these candies is to enjoy other treats such as chocolate, licorice or chips.
When Best to Eat Candy?
Many children would answer “Always!” in response to this question. However, as parents, it is important to keep in mind that you want to minimize the sugar exposure of your child’s mouth. Snacking on candy between meals means a more long term sugar exposure. The best time to enjoy Halloween candy, from a dental perspective, is right after a meal, when there is plenty of saliva flow to wash away all the sugar. Encouraging your child to have a glass of water after the candy will also help to rinse away the sugar.
Halloween Candy Alternatives
If you are handing out Halloween treats at your door, why not try something other than candy?
Options such as these might be a hit with kids and their parents:
- sugarless gum
- packs of seeds or nuts (watch out for allergies)
- temporary tattoos
Speaking of toothbrushes, Halloween is a great time to introduce a novelty toothbrush to remind your kids to brush regularly. Another idea is to have your children leave out half of their candy for the “Candy Fairy” who comes at night and takes the candy in exchange for a toy, book, or something else you know your child wants. Donating part of their candy to a local soup kitchen could also help children to learn about sharing and moderation, in addition to keeping their teeth healthy.
At Broad Street Dental Centre we love to celebrate the holidays including Halloween. Just remember to enjoy it all in moderation and save the scary stuff for October 31st.