Halloween is fun for children of all ages, but the extra sugar can mean big trouble for their teeth if they aren’t careful. It can be challenging for parents to protect the oral health of their little ones during this season. Luckily, though, these 5 Halloween candy tips can help your child make it through the rest of autumn cavity-free!
1. Carefully Choose Which Candy to Keep
The easiest way to avoid the temptation of too much candy is to get rid of the excess. Have your kids pick their favorites that they want to keep. You can donate the rest to programs like Operation Gratitude, which will deliver the treats to troops overseas; you might also check to see if there’s a Halloween Candy Buy Back event being held in your area.
When choosing the candy to get rid of, keep in mind that some treats are worse for your pearly whites than others. The length of time sugar stays in your mouth plays a role in tooth decay; peppermints and other hard candies can be particularly harmful.
2. Make a Schedule
If you snack on candy throughout the day, your dental health (and your overall diet) could suffer as a result. Choose some specific times when you’ll allow your child to enjoy sweets. The best time is generally after dinner; the mouth produces more saliva during a meal, and that will help rinse away sugar particles in the mouth.
3. Be Careful with Sticky Candy
Sugary gum, taffy, gummy bears and other sticky candies can cling to the teeth. This makes it harder for them to be washed away by saliva and puts you at a much higher risk for cavities.
4. Have Plenty of Water on Hand
Like saliva, water can help rinse food particles out of the mouth. That means it’s a good idea to give your child some water to sip on after they’re done with their candy. Fluoridated water is better for strengthening and protecting tooth enamel; most tap water has fluoride, but if you give your children bottled water, you’ll have to double-check whether fluoride is included.
5. Don’t Forget to Brush and Floss
Brushing and flossing become extra important in the weeks after trick or treating. Make sure your child is brushing at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Flossing is also important, as it removes food particles and bacteria from the spaces your child wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise.
Your dentist might have more advice for helping your little ones avoid tooth decay after October; it may be a good idea to schedule an appointment and see what they have to say. With proper planning, your child can enjoy Halloween to the fullest without putting their precious smile at risk!
About the Author
Dr. Drew Vanderbrook became interested in dentistry at a young age. He’s currently a member of the Texas Dental Association and was named New Dentist of the Year by the Dallas County Dental Society. If you want to schedule a checkup for your children or have concerns about cavities around Halloween, contact his practice, Vanderbrook Family Dentistry, by visiting his website or calling (214) 821-5200.