Halloween is supposed to be all about fun, and cavities are anything but. Happily, protecting your kids’ dental health doesn’t require that you confiscate their candy or steer them only to houses that hand out pencils. You can easily help them make candy choices that are good for their teeth and don’t require them to miss out on any of the Halloween festivities.
Say Yes to Chocolate
Finally, an excuse to reach for more chocolate! As candy options go, chocolate is one of the most dental-friendly. It doesn’t require a lot of sucking or chewing like other candies do, so chocolate doesn’t spend a lot of time on the teeth. If your kids don’t get a lot of chocolate in their trick-or-treat bags, buy some of their favorite types and organize a trade – one piece of chocolate for every cavity-causing treat.
Avoid Sticky and Sour Stuff
If chocolate gets an A from dentists, sour or sticky candy gets an F. Sticky things like jelly beans and gummies get stuck in between the teeth and the sugar is hard to wash off. Similarly, any candy that stays in your mouth for a long time (like lollipops or sucking candies) makes your saliva sugary, which means every nook and cranny of your mouth gets coated with sugar. Sour candy is acidic, so it wears away tooth enamel. Steer your kids clear of all of them.
Serve Candy with Meals
Go ahead, say yes to Halloween candy with dinner (or maybe even the occasional weekend breakfast). Saliva production is in high gear while you’re eating. That saliva helps wash sugar and food particles off the teeth. If you let kids keep some of their sticky, sour or hard candies, serve them up at the end of a meal to minimize the damage.
Confiscate Candy at Night
Even responsible kids can’t always resist the temptation of candy. If they have access to their treat bags in the evening, sneaky kids might manage to slip out sweets to enjoy as a bedtime snack, which is bad news if they already brushed their teeth for the night. In order to make sure that kids go to bed with clean, sugar-free teeth, hide or lock up their bags at night. And if you sneak candy bars out of your kids’ bags after they go to sleep, we won’t tell – just make sure to brush well afterward.
Halloween can be scary for kids, but a dental checkup doesn’t have to be. Have you made your kid’s next dental appointment with Dr. Waschak? If not, call us at 541-435-2393.