How to make Halloween a more tooth-friendly celebration
Halloween is nearly here and the festivities can be lots of fun, but many parents are quite rightly concerned about the huge amount of candy consumption and its effect on young teeth.
Dentists don’t want to be complete killjoys and expecting a child to give up candy completely is just too much to ask, especially for this celebration. However, there are quite a few things you can do to ensure your child enjoys Halloween without ending up with a mouthful of cavities.
Introduce New Traditions That Are Not Focused on Candy
It could be worth talking to other parents about Trick or Treating, as some may be amenable to providing alternatives to candy such as small, inexpensive toys, stickers or other fun stuff. You could also try getting them involved in making Halloween oriented foods that aren’t packed full of sugar. This will help them feel as if they are eating something special, but which won’t harm their teeth.
Encourage Your Child to Get Choosy About Their Candy
Encourage your child to choose the candies they really enjoy, rather than eating something they are not so keen on simply because it is there. If you know they are saving up for something, you could offer to buy their candy from them. Some candies are more tooth friendly than others, as hard candies tend to stick to the teeth for longer, potentially causing more damage. Chocolate melts away more easily, limiting the amount of time it comes into contact with teeth and it can be a better option.
Eating Candy at the End of a Main Meal
Including some candy at the end of a main meal will help reduce its impact on their oral health. This is because the mouth produces more saliva during a meal and this will help to wash away the candy more easily, reducing acidity and normalising pH levels more quickly. In contrast, allowing your child to snack on candy in between meals will increase their exposure to sugar, increasing the risk of cavities.
Get Them to Drink Plenty of Water
Water has a similar effect to saliva, helping to wash away excess sugars and acid, so encourage your child to drink plenty of water. It is the best liquid for staying hydrated and is a better option than sugar laden energy drinks and fruit juices.
Talk to Them about Oral Health
Unless you have a child who hates candy, then they are going to indulge every now and then. Halloween can be a good opportunity for them to learn how to enjoy foods in moderation and how these foods affect their dental health. Explain to them why it is so important to brush and floss regularly. We can also talk to them about dental care when they come for check-ups and we can even show them the best way to thoroughly clean their teeth in a way that makes learning fun and informative.
If you have any tips on making Halloween a healthier holiday, we’d love to hear them when you next visit us.