Even if you haven’t gone to your local Wal-Mart recently, it’s hard not to notice that Halloween is right around the corner. Many families are putting up their decorations and out finding the perfect creepy costume.
But as much fun as Halloween is, we here at Little Heroes Pediatric Dentistry know there is always one worry in the back of every parent’s mind – “How do I protect my kids’ teeth from all those sweets?”
This is not something to be discounted, as a quarter of children have at least one cavity between the ages of one and five. That being said, there is still plenty you can do – and not do – to make sure your kids’ teeth are safe and strong during the spookiest time of the year.#Halloween is great but dont forget to visit #LittleHeroes in the #RGV to take care of those #fangs Click To Tweet
- Halloween is not a season – The biggest problem about all the candy your kids collect on Halloween night is that it doesn’t just disappear by morning. The candy ends up in a treasure trove of stockpiled candy that continually gets snacked on. A simple solution is to have your kids pick out 10 to 15 treats they like and then give the rest away to programs like Operation Gratitude.
- Eat first – Trick or treating is not like swimming; it is actually safer if you eat first. Having a good meal before going out and collecting candy helps build up saliva, which helps wash away any bits of candy that get stuck between teeth.
- Drink Water – Sweets tempt our little ones to just go nuts and have at it. You need to balance all that sugar with something though, so be sure your kids drink plenty of water when they are trick-or-treating, with fluoride if possible. This will make it harder for sugar to stick to their teeth, protecting them as they enjoy the haunted night.
- Substitute Healthy Snacks – This is a tough one. It’s unlikely that your kids, or anyone else’s, look forward to getting apples and carrots on Halloween. Still, there are more options than just fruits or vegetables. Popcorn and yogurt are other snack possibilities that aren’t going to coat anyone’s teeth with sugar. Be creative and don’t be afraid to try something unconventional!
Don’t Skip Brushing Halloween Night – Your kids shouldn’t skip brushing any night but on a day where they expose their teeth to a bit more candy than normal is definitely one that requires attention. Additionally, it’s important that once they do brush and floss, they don’t sneak any extra candies in before they actually fall asleep.<
- Avoid Hard Candy – Jolly Ranchers, lollipops, and jawbreakers are all fun candies because of how long they last. That extra flavor comes with the price of exposing teeth to sugar for a longer amount of time as well. Chocolates and powdery candy won’t stick to teeth and are easier to rinse away, without sacrificing any sweetness.
- No Sticky Candy Either – It doesn’t seem fair, does it? Many tasty candy choices like caramel, gummies, and taffies are some of the most harmful to your kids’ teeth. They get caught between teeth easily and increase the risk of damage for as long as they remain wedged there. #SnackSmart: little heroes should avoid #hardcandies and #stickycandies #RGV #Halloween Click To Tweet
- Stay Away From Sugary Drinks – This one is the logical follow-up to the “plenty of water” guideline. Where water helps clear sugar off the surfaces of teeth, sugary drinks like sodas and juices will just pile more on top of what candies and other sweets have already left.
- Wait to Brush After Sour Candy – Chances are good that your children might have some sour candy this year. They are a fun alternative to overly-sweet choices but the acid that they contain is just as harmful as sugar to teeth. On top of that, brushing teeth too soon after eating something that is highly acidic will just spread that acid over teeth. Wait at least 30 minutes after eating any sour candy before brushing to avoid this problem.
- Worrying Too Much – The trouble that an overload of candy can pose to your kids’ teeth is a real issue but not one that has to preoccupy your mind. You can protect their teeth without taking all the fun out of the night for all of you.