Tooth Friendly Halloween Treats
Halloween will be here before we know it. There is a lot of hustle and bustle that happens in October to pull together costumes, decorate the house, and buy candy for trick-or-treaters. Will the weather be mild or freezing for the occasion? What day of the week does Halloween fall on this year? There are just so many things going on during the holidays that the last thing on your mind as a parent may be what candy is healthiest to buy or allow your children to consume. While candy safety comes first, it is also important to practice good oral hygiene during such a sugary and treat-filled season.
To Eat or Not to Eat?
It’s probably inevitable that your kids will be around candy for Halloween. Whether they get it at school or simply while trick-or-treating, you can at least be prepared with knowledge on what candies to allow and buy, as well as those to avoid or throw away.
Keep – Sugar-free treats are always a good way to go. Thankfully, in this day and age, sugar-free candy is easier to come by, such as lollipops, gum, and hard candies. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, has been proven to have antioxidants. While it is best to not go for large, caramel or nugget filled bars… small, harder items like a Hershey’s kiss or dark chocolate Dove heart is in the okay zone for sweets.
Ditch – A general rule of thumb for candy says to steer clear of rather sticky or chewy candies (e.g. taffy, gummies). These tend to stick to the teeth longer and can more quickly result in tooth decay when leftover particles grab on between the teeth. Likewise, sour candies and treats with very high sugar contents more quickly erode the teeth and also promote tooth decay. If a lollipop or hard candy is not sugar-free, having a sugary item linger in your child’s mouth is actually even worse for your teeth.
Tooth Tips for the Halloween Season
- Planning to eat sugary candy? Definitely skip the sugary drinks. It may be best not to double indulge on such a candy geared holiday.
- It’s not ideal to snack on candy and sweet treats throughout the day. Try planning sweets around meal times when your saliva production is increased to wash away bacteria and food particles.
- Drink more water, a great way to help prevent tooth decay.
- As always, brush twice daily and floss. Throw in some mouthwash too.
- Parents, you may keep your children’s candy under lock and key – to be given out when earned or deserved. Consider letting your kids choose their favorite candy to keep, and then donate the rest to organizations such as troops overseas or candy buy-back programs.
Wouldn’t want your children to resent you for ruining trick-or-treating by not allowing candy. No need to deprive anyone from a little holiday candy, but also use this time of year to continue teaching good oral health habits to your children. Halloween is simply a great opportunity to discuss healthy diets and how it is related to your body’s physical AND oral health. Also, if you have any questions about candy and braces or any other orthodontic appliances, feel free to give us a call at any of our 5 Middle TN locations – or check out How to “Halloween” with Braces.