Halloween season is upon us, which you’ve likely noticed thanks to the astounding increase in the number of Jack-o-lanterns you’re seeing on a daily basis. For children, creatures like ghosts, vampires, and werewolves are meant to inspire playful fear, but do you know what should really scare parents when it comes to Halloween? CAVITIES. The holiday leads to a literal candy-fiesta at most households, but to make sure the festivities and sweet treats don’t end with your child developing a toothache and needing a filling, here are a few simple tips that will help keep their teeth safe.
Top Candies to AVOID
Due to the high sugar content, candy, in general, is not great for the teeth, but it’s OK to enjoy in small portions. Some candies are potentially more harmful than others, however, so be sure to keep an eye out for the following types:
- Hard Candies: Biting down on rock candy can easily chip a tooth, and just sucking on it can expose the teeth to sugar for an extended amount of time, dramatically raising the risk of decay.
- Sour Candies: In addition to the sugar, sour candies can also be very acidic, which is a one-two punch for damaging enamel.
- Sticky/Gummy Candies: Even after these candies have been chewed and swallowed, bits of them can still remain in the mouth for a very long time, and they can be difficult to remove while brushing and flossing, which increases someone’s exposure to sugar.
So, what should you do if your child gets these types of candies while trick-or-treating? We recommend that they trade them for chocolates or other treats that can be consumed quickly and won’t linger on the teeth. You can have a “candy exchange” with your child and swap as needed…just be sure to have some of your own candy on hand!
Only After Meals
The big problem children often run into isn’t that they eat one piece of candy here or there, it’s that they gorge and fill up on it, which is not only terrible for their teeth, but it can cause quite the stomachache as well!
Once your child brings in their haul for the year, let them enjoy a few candies on Halloween night, and lock up the rest in a secure location they can’t access. Only let them have candy after eating a full, healthy meal. This will not only curb their appetite for sugar, but the previous foods will stimulate saliva production, which will help their mouth naturally wash away excess sugar.
Watch For Hidden Sources of Candy
Of course, your child won’t just be getting candy on Halloween night. Starting weeks before, it will likely be available at school, friends’ houses, afterschool activities, etc. Everyone is just trying to get into the holiday spirit, but this leads many children to eating a lot more candy than their parents realize! Keep an eye out for this, and make doubly sure your child brushes and flosses their teeth every day. As always, this practice is one of the most important things your child can do to protect their oral health both now and any other time of the year.
And that’s it! By keeping these tips in mind, you and your little ghoul or goblin should be able to enjoy a great Halloween season without having to make an unexpected trip to the dentist in November!