Halloween is here and with it comes an increased consumption of candy and sweets. Halloween can be a great opportunity to teach children good dental health habits, including eating candy and sweets in moderation. Here are some reminders and helpful hints for you and your children to have a healthy and fun Halloween:
Eat a good meal. Feeding children a healthy dinner before they go trickortreating is a great way to decrease the likelihood of them filling up on candy.
Eat treats in one sitting. Choose candy that can be eaten quickly to limit the amount of time sugar is in contact with the teeth. Encourage children to eat a small amount of candy in one sitting followed by a glass of water or brushing.
Choose healthier treats. Encourage your child to eat the healthier treats and avoid hard, sour or chewy candies. These candies have high acidity and/or stick to the teeth longer, which can increase the risk of cavities. A plain chocolate bar is a better option than sour, sticky or hard candies.
Perform a “safety check.” Take a look when your child returns from trickortreating to ensure there are no dangerous items in their collection. Include your child in this process to explain the decisions you make and allow them to learn good habits.
Limit availability. Candy should be enjoyed, but moderation is important. Have your child choose a few of their favorite candies and remove the rest.
Brush and floss. Set a specific time of day for candy consumption and then have your child followup by brushing and flossing their teeth. This is much healthier than allowing your child’s teeth to be continuously exposed to sugary or acidic treats throughout the day.
Donate the candy. Children can sell their candy to local dentists who participate in the Halloween Candy Buyback program. The candy is donated to to the troops overseas through Operation Gratitude.