Halloween Candy

Will Halloween Candy Be a Trick or a Treat?

There’s no doubt about it. Kids love Halloween. The costumes, the trick-or-treating, the candy. Oh, my, the candy! What would this time of year be without bags and bags of the best kind of treats out there?

Halloween is big business. Americans will spend more than $2 billion on candy this year and kids who trick-or-treat will receive, on average, 50 to 100+ sugary treats to snack on. As parents, what can we do to help our children enjoy this fun time while keeping their teeth safe and healthy?

The good news is that this can be a great opportunity for you to instill good oral health practices for your children. It takes minimal effort and will keep you and your child happy ant their next dental visit.

Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst candies you might find in your child’s the bag of goodies.

The Worst:

  • Chewy / Sticky sweets – Gummy bears, taffy, caramels and similar candies can easily become stuck in crevices and between teeth. This makes it more difficult to clean your mouth and eliminate those sugary assassins waiting to attack tooth enamel.
  • Sour candies – You know the ones. They make your mouth pucker and your eyes water. The reason is they are made with highly acidic ingredients. This acid, if unchecked, can start to break down your tooth enamel very quickly. If your child has a particular affinity for sour candies, ensure they are drinking water when eating them to help wash away the acids from their teeth.

The Best:

  • Sugar free, hard candies like lollipops, butterscotch and cinnamon discs. – These must be sugar free! Sucking on hard candies helps to stimulate saliva production which helps prevent dry-mouth. Dry mouth creates an environment where plaque can build up on teeth leading to an increased risk of cavities.
  • Sugar free gum. – Once again, sugar free is important here. Chewing gum made with sugar allows the sugar to stay on the teeth for a prolonged period of time increasing the risk for plaque and cavities to form. Sugar-free gum, on the other hand, can help to stimulate saliva production and can help by dislodging food particles from between teeth.

At the end of the night, you are looking at a bag full of treats and a child begging to dive in. What do you do?

Require your child to drink water with their candy to help wash away some of the sugary goodness. Explain to them why drinking water is important and reinforce the idea that good oral health practices will keep their teeth happy and healthy.

You may consider letting your children eat as much as they want the first couple of days. Letting your child eat as much as they want on Halloween night limits their exposure to cavity causing sugars over the long run. This will expose their teeth to a lot of sugar at once instead of over a period of days or weeks. Once they are finished with their ‘candy session’, wait about an hour and then make sure they brush and floss to get any sticky, candy residue off their teeth.

Take advantage of Halloween as a great opportunity to create and celebrate good habits when eating sweets and when taking care of their teeth. Let your children enjoy the experience and don’t deprive them of sweets. Simply take a few precautions or actions to give them the best experience and a good foundation for good oral health.

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