Halloween is a beloved holiday for many children thanks to the opportunity to dress up and, of course, eat candy. As a parent, you may be more scared of what all that candy will do to your child’s teeth than any witch, ghost or goblin. Rest assured that you can take steps to limit the effects of the treats so that your child won’t head into the next visit with the family dentist sporting a mouth full of cavities.
Keep in mind that different kinds of candy will have different effects on your child’s teeth. A family dentist is likely to recommend (and hand out) chocolate rather than a hard candy or a sticky sweet treat. The chocolate melts fairly quickly, limiting the amount of time that the sugary substance is in contact with the teeth. Alternatively, things like lollipops and hard or sticky candies give the sugar an opportunity to linger in the mouth, where oral bacteria can feed on it and proliferate, increasing the child’s risk of tooth decay and gum disease. So, if you steer your child toward the Hershey’s Bars and M&Ms, it will be a better choice. Of course, you can also focus on the non-candy items like chips and pretzels too.
It’s important to ration the candy, as well. Set a limit of 1-2 pieces per day, and encourage your child to either brush or at least rinse his or her mouth after enjoying the sweet treats.
If your child comes home with a huge haul, that doesn’t mean that he or she is required to consume all of that candy. There are numerous programs where families can trade in excess candy, which can then be donated to military personal or other groups in need.
Don’t feel like you have to keep your child from participating in your community’s Trick or Treat night to protect his or her smile. Use these tips to give your children an opportunity to enjoy Halloween without having a fright about their teeth! And keep these suggestions in mind when choosing what you hand out to help your neighbors’ oral health, too.
For more dental health tips, call our practice to speak with a member of our caring and knowledgeable team!