Top Tricks and Treats for a Tooth-Friendly Halloween
Halloween Time can be a scary holiday for your children’s oral health. Finding the perfect balance between letting your kids has fun celebrating with their friends, but also making sure they don’t over indulge on sweets can seem impossible, but it’s not!
Here are some tips from the American Dental Association that should make things less frightening for you and your family this Halloween.
Avoid the Hard Stuff
Long-lasting snacks, such as hard candies create an acid attack on teeth the entire time they are in the mouth. One solution would be to allow your little ghosts and goblins to indulge in Halloween candy at mealtime instead of as a snack. Another option is, when doing a safety check on your kid’s candy, is to get rid of hard candy, suckers and other long lasting candy, only keeping faster dissolving sweets such as chocolate and caramels. If you really want to get serious about monitoring your kids candy intake you can even swap certain candy for healthier options.
Research from the Forsyth Dental Center shows that some sticky foods clear from the mouth faster than less sticky foods, posing a shorter acid attack on the teeth. Caramels; for example, dissolve more quickly than crackers, breakfast cereals, potato chips, dried fruit and bread. I know it seems counterproductive to offer your kids chewy stick-to-your-teeth treats over dried fruit but as long as the confection dissolves relatively fast you are in the clear. If your children favor chocolate over sugary candy are should be fine.
Trick, Treat and Toss
Another option with Halloween candy is to allow snacking immediately after trick-or-treating, then discard the remainder or hide it in the freezer for another time. But remember that depriving your child of Halloween treats will only make he or she want them more. This might work if your children are not sugar motivated, but if they are, this tactic could lead to them hiding candy or sneaking treats from your freezer when you are not looking. This could secretly lead to them snacking after teeth are brushed or before meals that could lead to decay.
Limiting snack time can contribute to the overall nutrition and health of the child. Choosing healthy snack choices such as fruit, cheese, yogurt, vegetables, peanut butter and even chocolate milk, can help curb their appetite for less healthy snacks. If you have a cookie jar on the kitchen counter or a candy dish in your living room you are promoting tooth decay for your children.
Practice Good Hygiene
Above all, The ADA reminds us to always practice good oral hygiene by making sure your child brushes and flosses every day, uses fluoride toothpaste, and visits the dentist regularly.
For more information about proper oral health for your children please contact us.