8 Tips for a Tooth-Friendly Halloween
It should come as no surprise that kids love Halloween. And what isn’t there to love? Fun and spooky costumes? Parties and bobbing for apples? A fun night out with mom, dad, and friends collecting candies and other goodies in the neighborhood? Sounds like paradise for kids. But when it comes to your kids’ teeth, Halloween might not sound so fun. Thankfully, not all Halloween treats need to be bad. There are plenty of tooth-friendly foods for a tooth-friendly Halloween. Read on to learn more.
You’ll appreciate knowing that your kids can enjoy Halloween without jeopardizing their oral health. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists has put together a list of suggestions on how you can help your child have a tooth-friendly Halloween. We’ve taken those recommendations and provided some further detail for you below.
1. Halloween Moderation
As with everything, remember that moderation is key. Since sugar affects the body’s ability to function well, parents must limit the sugar their children consume each day. Excessive consumption can increase your child’s risk for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Plus, excess sugar can lead to tooth decay and gum disease as well.
2. Be selective with your treat choices.
Encourage your children to focus on less sticky treats or those that are more likely to leave the mouth quickly, such as chocolate. Sticky treats, as it would imply, stick to the teeth and increase your child’s chances of developing cavities. Some of the most problematic sticky treats include lollipops, bubble gum (though sugar-free gum is a great alternative), caramel, and gummy candies, especially the sour ones that are acidic and can wear down the enamel of your child’s teeth.
3. Do a review.
Be sure to screen the treats your child receives during their trick-or-treating extravaganza before allowing them to eat them. Immediately discard any treats that have a torn wrapper.
4. Give to the Halloween Fairy.
Have some fun by doing a treat sorting. Sort treats into three piles. One pile to keep, one pile for the “Halloween Fairy” aka trash bin, and one pile to donate. There are various programs out there that accept unwanted treat donations, and your kids might enjoy making this an annual tradition. Check out Treats for Troops and Operation Gratitude.
5. Avoid the “Bad-fors”
If you’re planning a Halloween party, avoid sugary snacks that are bad for teeth and opt for friendlier options instead. Consider DIY popsicles, Halloween-inspired fruit kabobs, a veggie dip, or cheese. Avoid acidic foods that are bad for teeth, such as sports drinks, soda, apple juice, and orange juice.
6. Offer the “Good-fors”
If you plan to participate in Halloween activities by turning on your outside light and welcoming trick-or-treaters to your door, consider offering non-candy options, such as stickers, pencils, temporary tattoos, and glow sticks. You will likely be able to find spooky spider rings, mini slinkies, and colorful bouncy balls at your local dollar store, all of which are sure to please the trick-or-treaters coming to your door on fright night. Other great options are unsweetened applesauce, thin crackers, pretzels, pureed fruit pouches, and bottled water.
7. Trick or track the timing.
Be sure to limit the number of sweet, starchy, and otherwise sugary foods your children consume before bedtime. Treats should be combined with meals, perhaps as an after-meal snack. This helps ensure that the other foods eaten at the meal can help wash down the sugars in the treats. And it helps keep your child from hoarding sweets later.
8. Dress up the hygiene routine.
As with every night, make sure your child thoroughly brushes their teeth before bedtime and after they have eaten their treats for the night. If your child doesn’t like to brush their teeth, try to make it a bit more fun by playing a Halloween-inspired tooth-brushing song in the background. Caring for your child’s teeth is important, so parents should know that making the oral hygiene routine fun is OK.
Schedule your kid’s dental cleaning with Valley Dental in Wasilla, AK.
If you are reading this article and have realized that your child is overdue for a dental cleaning, there is no time like the present to get it on the calendar. And if you live in the Wasilla, Alaska, area, why not give Valley Dental Clinic a try? We take the words “family dentistry” to a new level, and we believe you’ll see what we mean the moment you walk through our doors. Plus, we’d love to talk to you and your child about their favorite Halloween candies and how to deal with excessive sweets.
So, request an appointment by using our easy-to-use online form or give our office a call at (907) 376-3884. We look forward to meeting you and your child.