October means pumpkins, costumes, candy, and trick-or-treating. While we don’t want to spoil anyone’s Halloween fun, we do want you to be aware that too much candy can increase your child’s risk of tooth decay and cavities. Here are a few ways your children can prevent tooth decay this Halloween while still having fun!
- Don’t Eat Candy on an Empty Stomach
- Swap Out Candy with Non-Sweet Treats
- Choose Less “Spooky” Candy
- Drink Plenty of Water
- Maintain Oral Hygiene
- Donate Leftover Candy to a Good Cause
Be sure your child has had a nutritious dinner before trick-or-treating. Hungry kids are more likely to crave sweet snacks and eat too much when going through their Halloween haul. Not only can indulging in too much candy make kids sick to their stomach, but their oral bacteria will have a hey-day chowing down on all that sugar. And well-fed bacteria means more plaque and enamel-damaging acids to weaken their teeth.
Stickers, pencils, temporary tattoos, and glow-in-the-dark jewelry are all fun goodies to give out to kids this Halloween. Many kids will love receiving surprises like this!
Sugar-free candy is always best, but we know kids don’t always find it as satisfying. So for sugar-containing candy, we recommend chocolate (particularly dark chocolate) that doesn’t have a chewy caramel filling. Chocolate rinses off of teeth easier than other candy, giving bacteria less time to feed. The worst candies for teeth are hard candy like jawbreakers and lollipops, as well as chewy items like toffee, taffy, gummies, and caramel. We recommend staying away from these!
Instead of a sugary juice box or a sports drink, give your trick-or-treater water after walking the neighborhood and while eating their candy. Water acts as a natural mouth rinse and will help clean their teeth before bedtime.
Even if you’re out late at a party or trick-or-treating, make sure your kids brush and floss their teeth as they would every night. With the increase consumption of candy in the days following Halloween, don’t neglect dental hygiene; this is a crucial time to prevent tooth decay.
Your child will likely come home with enough candy to feed several families. But you don’t have to keep it all! We recommend donating your leftover candy to a good cause, like Operation Gratitude. Let your child keep a few of their favorite treats and give the rest away.
Happy Halloween From Southwest Smiles in Austin, TX!
We wish you a safe and enjoyable Halloween. Contact our friendly team with additional questions about how to protect your child’s oral health.