Halloween is a spooky time of year that is known for its elaborate costumes and delicious treats! It is fun for the entire family deciding on costumes, decorations, pumpkin carving, and Halloween parties. “Trick –OR- Treating” is the part most kids look forward to, as well as their parents in hopes they can steal some of their kids candy. As kids, my cousins and I would spread out all our candy on our grandparent’s floor, separate it into piles, and make trades. Making memories and eating candy is what Halloween is all about, but also remember to have a plan to keep your teeth healthy and safe from cavities. Most people already know candy contains lots of sugar, but did you know that candies have close to 15 ingredients in them, most of them being a variety of different sugars?
Here are a few fun Halloween candy tips to help you!
1) When buying candy look for treats that can be eaten quickly, like mini candy bars.
2) Have a smaller bag or bucket for Trick –Or- Treating & limit the number of houses you go to.
3) Put a new toothbrush in your child’s bag of candy to encourage good brushing during this time.
4) Candy that melts quickly, such as chocolate, is recommended more because your saliva can wash it away easier than sticky candy which clings to your teeth and harbors plaque.
5) Discard hard or sticky candies, like sugared fruit snacks, gummy bears, taffy, caramels, popcorn balls or lollipops. These all overload the teeth with sugar for a long period of time and take longer to get washed away by the saliva increasing the risk of tooth decay.
6) Eat the piece of candy with a meal or shortly after a meal as saliva production increases during meals. This will help cancel out the acid that is produced by bacteria in your mouth and flush out food particles.
7) Eat a small amount in one sitting and drink water during and right after, if possible brush thoroughly right away.
8) It’s not a good idea to graze on candy for a long duration of time as it increases the amount of time sugar comes in contact with your teeth.
9) Create a plan on what to do with all the candy before you go out treat or treating.
· Pick your family favorites and donate the rest
· Find a candy buyback program
· Look for an organization that donates and sends candy to troops over seas
· Give your child the option to give up the majority of their candy and trade it for something else they have been really wanting.
· Give them the daily option when they want candy to choose a piece, and trade it for something simple like a sticker or a quarter for their piggy bank.
· This also is a great time to discuss and explain to your children how to make healthy choices for their body and teeth.
Fight the risk of decay from candy with extra good homecare!
Everyone wants to enjoy a little bit of candy during the Halloween season. Here are a few dental tips on ways to step up your homecare, and give yourself and your children some extra protection.
· Continue brushing your teeth for 2 minutes twice daily, and brush after eating candy as well.
· Increase flossing from 1, to 2 times daily for the week following Halloween.
· If you don’t normally use mouthwash, now is the time. Starting with Halloween through the holidays as your teeth are exposed to unusual eating habits and sugars. I recommend using ACT fluoride rinse daily to help keep sugars at bay, and strengthen the enamel of your teeth to fight against cavities.
· Drink lots of water daily
· Eating healthy foods will help balance out your sugar intake. This is a wonderful way to keep blood sugar from spiking and your teeth free from decay. Eating fresh apples, carrots, celery, and other fibrous produce will also help scrub away plaque buildup and sugars in your mouth.