October is a month for chills, thrills – and candy, potentially lots of it. As your dentists, we aren’t exactly thrilled about your family’s candy consumption. We’re not monsters, though, so we don’t insist on completely avoiding it. Our tips for making healthy Halloween choices will help you enjoy the fun without endangering your dental health.
- Avoiding sticky and sour treats
- Establishing rules prior to trick-or-treating
- Handing out non-candy treats
Avoid the Scariest Types of Treats
When it comes to candy, three types are especially hard on your children’s teeth: sour (gummies, suckers, etc.), sticky (caramel, taffy, etc.), and hard (jawbreakers, toffee, etc.). As dentists, we’ve seen plenty of restorations like fillings that were damaged by sticky and chewy candy. In addition, these substances cling to your kids’ teeth, which gives the sugar in them more time to damage enamel. Bacteria feeds on sugar and uses it to create acid that eats into enamel and causes decay.
Hard candies can also damage restorations and natural teeth. Although our team will get you in quickly for emergency care to relieve pain and preserve smiles, no one wants a broken or cracked tooth on Halloween night!
Set Ground Rules for Candy Consumption
We suggest deciding together if there are any “bad” options you’ll want to get rid of when sorting candy – and doing it before trick-or-treating or other holiday activities. You can agree to substitute healthier treats, small toys, or even cash for these candies. If you have very young children, you can suggest leaving these candies out for the “Halloween fairy.” Like her cousin, the Tooth Fairy, she will swap the candy for something else your child wants.
Before activities commence is also the right time to set a limit on the number of pieces and/or time they can have their treats each day. For example, maybe agree to let your child eat two or three piece of candy after dinner.
Hand Out Items Other Than Candy
It seems everyone is more health conscious these days, even kids. So if you’re handing out treats at your house or taking them to a truck-or-treat event, consider some of these healthier foods:
- Fruit snacks
- Chocolate-covered raisins or nuts (unlike sticky candy, chocolate melts away quickly)
- Juice boxes (look for 100 percent juice)
- Snack-size packs of pretzels or crackers
- Sugarless gum, especially if it contains xylitol, an ingredient that helps fight decay
Many discount and party stores also sell fun non-candy options like:
- Small bubbles
- Temporary tattoos
- Small games and puzzles
- Vampire teeth
- Glow sticks
- Crafts like activity books and crayons
To make an appointment at Bell and Bell Dentistry in Frankfort, KY, call us today at 502-783-6322.