While you want your child to enjoy Halloween and the treats that come with it, you also may be concerned about the effect that Halloween candy will have on their teeth. This blog will tell you how to make Halloween fun while still keeping those smiles healthy and happy!
Besides costumes and trick-or-treating, candy is the main event on Halloween, and you want your child to enjoy it. They don’t have to stuff themselves with candy, but they don’t have to deprive themselves, either – Halloween actually presents the perfect opportunity to teach your child about moderation and healthy dental habits.
One way to minimize damage from candy is to pick and choose what candies to give your child. Some candy is far better for your teeth than others; here are a few treats that will keep that smile bright:
- Dark chocolate – the compounds in cocoa beans have antibacterial properties that fight plaque.
- Sugarless gum/candies – the sugar in candy feeds the bacteria that harms your teeth – sugarless gum and candy can help clean your teeth. The only downside is that sugarless gum often replaces the sugar with other additives.
- Candy bars with nuts – nuts break up the stickiness in candy bars, and it’s the stickiness that causes sugar to linger in your teeth and cause cavities.
Now, here are the worst candies for your child’s teeth:
- Anything sticky – think caramels and other soft candies that stick in between your teeth, causing bacteria to linger and feed off of that sugar.
- Lollipops – because you tend to have lollipops in your mouth for an extended amount of time, your teeth are exposed to the sugar for longer, causing more harm than even a larger amount of candy.
- Gummy worms – gummy worms are acidic, which wears your enamel down.
This isn’t to say, however, that your kids can’t enjoy these candies in moderation. One way to allow them to enjoy these types of candy is to limit their consumption to one or two pieces a day, preferably after a meal. You can also allow them to have one piece a day for a few days, and then donate the rest, or give them the choice of trading a piece of candy for a small toy they’ve had their eye on.
After your child does have candy on Halloween night and in the following days, make sure that they drink plenty of water and that they brush and floss. Contrary to what you might think, you shouldn’t brush your teeth immediately after you consume candy, because the sugar weakens your enamel. Brushing your teeth when your enamel is weakened can cause more harm than good. It’s best to wait about half an hour after eating candy to brush and floss!
Halloween doesn’t have to mean worrying about your kids’ teeth after all that candy. It’s a great opportunity to teach them about having treats in moderation, and about taking care of their teeth after they eat candy. Setting rules allows your kids to enjoy Halloween, and keep their smile bright and healthy!