Trick or treating time is here! While it is a fun holiday full of costumes and candy, it can be a dangerous one for your kids’ oral health. Obviously completely avoiding the candy is the best thing for your kids’ teeth, but it isn’t realistic.
Here are a few tips for making healthier choices on Halloween.
Trick #1: Stick to Chocolate.
Sticky, chewy, or hard candies can be harder to get out of your child’s teeth, causing tooth damage and leading to more decay. Caramels, taffy, and gummy bears can be especially problematic. You can also limit the number of treats they can keep and donate the leftovers to a charity (such as Operation Gratitude for the troops) or trade in program. Having your child exchange candy for a different type of treat such as a toy or special activity can also be a nice tradition to start.
Trick #2: Make it a Mealtime Thing.
Offering the candy during or shortly after a meal can help with saliva production. This will make it easier for the candy to be rinsed away. Also, if your child eats a balanced, healthy and filling meal, they may be less likely to binge on candy. If the foods you offer your child throughout the day are mostly healthy, it will improve overall health and wellness as well as tooth health.
Trick #3: Drink More Water.
Adding more water to your child’s diet will help flush out the bacteria in their mouth and keep their mouth hydrated. Don’t offer sugary drinks like juice or soda which will further increase the risk of tooth damage and decay.
Trick #4: Brushing and Flossing is Key.
While your child already is likely routinely brushing, make sure they are doing it at least twice a day for two minutes. For younger kids, it’s a great idea to help or supervise to make sure they are brushing well. If it’s been awhile since your child has replaced their toothbrush, a fun new toothbrush can be a good gift for Halloween! Flossing daily is also helpful for making sure bacteria between the teeth are removed quickly.
Scheduling a dentist appointment every six months (or sooner!) is crucial in helping your child have the healthiest smiles possible. This can also help with catching any problems early and correcting them sooner.
We hope these tips are helpful for you. We wish you and your family a fun and healthy Halloween!