Now that October is here, all thoughts are turning toward the end of the month and Halloween. For kids, that means trick or treating and collecting candy. While that sounds like a good time for all, it can lead to severe dental problems, if the consumption of sugary treats goes unchecked. Here are a few tips that can help parents manage the effects of Halloween candy on teeth, while also letting children enjoy the season.
Don’t Head Out on an Empty Stomach
When Halloween arrives, be sure you and your children eat a good meal, before going out to trick or treat. Filling up on healthy foods will ensure your children won’t be as likely to fill their tummies with candy and other sweet treats. If your schedule is busy and you don’t think you’ll have time to make a meal, you can always prep ahead of time. Having the meal ready can save time on that one day, when everyone will be rushed to eat and slip into their costumes.
Limit Access to Candy
Your children will get more than enough candy, as they go trick or treating, so there’s no reason to buy extra candy to keep around the home. Additionally, if you and your children are going to be out on the town, there’s no reason to stock up on candy for those trick or treaters coming to your home. Just a small supply to offer to neighborhood children is all you need. Keeping dishes of candy around the home may seem like a festive idea, but it can lead to uncontrolled snacking.
Doling Out Candy
After Halloween is when the real dangers to oral health begin, because you now have buckets of sweets laying around the house. Your children will likely want to dip into that supply frequently, but be cautious about letting them snack whenever they want. For instance, eating sweets early in the afternoon means sugar will be lingering in their mouth throughout the rest of the day. It’s best to save the treats until after dinner, so they will be able to brush their teeth soon afterwards. If you do allow candy earlier, make sure it’s accompanied with water to wash down the sugar.
Chocolate is Better
When it comes to letting your children eat candy, chocolates are the best choice. Chocolate is derived from a natural source and is less sugary than other types of candy. Other candies are essentially corn syrup and sugar, which are extremely harmful to young, developing teeth. Even hard candy can pose a problem in that it can cause teeth to chip, crack, or break. Chocolate is easier to chew and the sugar in chocolate is easily washed away with fresh water.
You Don’t Have to Eat All of the Candy
Finally, consider using the candy, instead of letting your children eat it. You can look to the internet for arts and crafts ideas that incorporate candy into the projects. Making decor out of candy provides a fun activity to occupy your children and helps you get rid of extra candy that can cause tooth decay. Later, your children can give their creations away as gifts. This can be a great opportunity for your kids to make Christmas gifts for teachers, friends, and family.
Halloween is an exciting event and it’s one of the most enjoyable days of the year for your children, but don’t let it cause dental problems that can last throughout the coming year. By making just a few changes to how you celebrate Halloween, your family can still enjoy the holiday, while making sure your kids are protected against tooth decay.