7 Tips for a Tooth-friendly Halloween
Halloween is just around the corner, and kids all over the Bee Cave area have thoughts of costumes on the brain. But let’s face it, parents, our kids are thinking about candy too. Unfortunately, we’re thinking about kids jacked up on sugar. And we’re probably also thinking about cavities and all the other challenges that come with sugar. However, this doesn’t mean that kids can’t enjoy Halloween and indulge in a bit of candy here and there. The key is moderation. We’ll tell you how to have a tooth-friendly Halloween without sacrificing the fun.
If your kids are excited to indulge in some fun snacking this Halloween, there is no reason to disappoint them. By following the 7 tips we have listed below, your kids can enjoy some Halloween delights without sacrificing the health of their teeth.
1. Encourage tooth-friendly Halloween treats.
We know most kids like candy, but that doesn’t mean kids don’t enjoy other fun surprises in their Halloween buckets as well. Unsweetened applesauce, temporary tattoos, coloring books, Halloween-themed pencils and erasers, glow sticks, and other Halloween-related trinkets can also be fun. And not all of them need to be eaten!
2. Teach your kids about snacking in moderation.
For the first few days after Halloween, your kids are going to want to enjoy their Halloween snacks more frequently. This is to be expected. But as the days go by, try to make that candy a distant memory by focusing on other activities. Help kids understand that candy doesn’t need to be a part of their daily routine. You can also consider a Halloween candy donation program and make that one of your new family traditions.
3. Avoid sticky treats.
Wherever possible, avoid treats that are sticky, such as caramels or fruit snacks. These treats are more likely to stick to the teeth and stay attached, which means more harmful bacteria in your child’s mouth for a longer period of time. If your child has indulged in these treats, encourage them to swish with water to help wash those sugars away.
4. Do a Halloween treat screening.
We always encourage parents to look through the candy their kids collect on Halloween night before allowing them to eat it. Look for open wrappers and discard any items that look questionable. But as part of this process, use the opportunity to screen the candy with your child so they can make tooth-healthy choices about what they want to keep. Consider having them create three piles of candy:
- What they want to eat
- What they want to donate to a reputable donation program
- What they want to donate to the “Halloween fairy”
5. Limit the amount of treats consumed in the few hours before bedtime.
We usually want our kids to start winding down instead of getting riled up when bedtime is approaching. When we eat sugar, our blood sugar levels rise and our pancreas releases insulin, which helps the sugar enter our cells, providing them with fuel to run on. In other words, we get energy from the sugar, but when we run out, we can crash. When we normally eat as the day goes on, our body functions more efficiently, and we tend to tire more naturally. Eating sugar at night can overstimulate us, making it hard to fall asleep. Aim to restrict your child’s intake of sugar at least half an hour before they are due to brush their teeth to allow the sugars to be naturally washed away from the surface of the tooth by saliva.
6. Reiterate the importance of brushing teeth before bed.
When our kids fail to brush their teeth before bed, their teeth remain covered in bacteria throughout the night while they are sleeping. This bacteria digests the remnants of food on their teeth and underneath their gums. This leads to acid production, which causes damage to the tooth enamel and eventually leads to tooth decay. So brushing teeth before bed, especially after eating candy, can ensure that your kids’ teeth stay protected while they sleep.
7. Don’t let your kid’s sweet tooth overshadow the importance of good oral hygiene.
Halloween is a much-beloved holiday for most kids, usually only second to Christmas. And as we know, most kids love candy. But it is important that, even if our kids are having a great time and we love seeing the delight in their faces as they indulge in the candy, we don’t let their sweet tooth win. Talk to your kids in advance about the Halloween holiday and establish some ground rules on how you are going to handle the volume of candy they collect. Make sure they know how much they will be allowed to consume each night and what they will keep. Setting expectations in advance will make the holiday more fun for everyone.
Schedule a visit to Tomasik Family Dental after your tooth-friendly Halloween.
We love Halloween too, and we especially love hearing from our patients about their steps to enjoy a tooth-friendly Halloween. So, if it is time for your kid’s dental cleaning, now is the time to request an appointment. During your visit, we’ll review tooth-friendly foods to help keep your kid’s mouth clean and fresh, and we’ll be happy to hear about their Halloween. Make an appointment now. We can’t wait to see you.