Halloween vs. Your Kids’ Teeth

It’s finally October! Before you know it, Halloween will be here. It’s a favorite holiday with kids, but it can be a holiday that lands your child in the dentist’s chair for more fillings if you’re not careful. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Americans spend around $9 billion on candy every Halloween, and a lot of that candy ends up in the buckets of the millions of trick-or-treating children each Halloween. It’s easy to see why Halloween is a favorite holiday for many kids – who doesn’t love getting a bucket of candy to enjoy?
Unfortunately, there’s a Halloween Horror that comes with all of that Halloween candy – cavities. All the sugar found in candy feeds cavity-causing bacteria, putting your child at a higher risk for tooth decay. Of course, this doesn’t mean that your kids have to give up Halloween or candy, but it is important that you focus on making sure you keep your child’s teeth healthy when trick-or-treating comes around.
Don’t Deny Your Kids
First, don’t deny your kids the fun of Halloween. Depriving them of the Halloween experience and candy sends the wrong message, and it may make candy seem even more desirable to them. The last thing you want is for your kids to sneak candy or binge on candy when they get a chance. Letting them experience the holiday and the treats that come with it is fine. Just use the following tips to make sure that the sweets don’t take a toll on their dental health.
Have a Special Treat Time
Don’t let your kids eat Halloween candy all day. Then sugar just stays on their teeth all day feeding cavity-causing bacteria. Instead, choose a special treat time when they can have a couple of treats from their Halloween haul. They’ll learn about moderation and that they shouldn’t make sweets and all-day feast. When they know they’ll be able to have a treat at a specific time, they’ll be less likely to think about indulging throughout the day.
Know Which Treats are the Worst
Know which treats can do the most damage to your child’s teeth and have them avoid the worst ones. For example, caramels, sour candies, gummies, and anything that’s really sticky will stick on teeth, doing more damage. Have kids skip these treats as much as possible. Candy that melts away pretty quickly is a much better choice. Plain chocolate is one of the better options since it melts away instead of clinging to teeth or staying in the mouth for an extended period of time.
Let Kids See Plaque
Dentists often use disclosing tablets, solution, or swabs to show the bacterial plaque that builds up on teeth. These products stain the plaque on teeth temporarily. You can purchase these products as well and use them as a visual lesson for your kids. They’ll be able to see how much plaque is building up on their teeth and it can show how good of a job they’re doing at brushing and flossing. Letting them see plaque themselves can be a helpful tool as you teach them the importance of limiting candy and brushing regularly.
Make Sure They’re Brushing Well After Treats
After your kids indulge in a Halloween treat, make sure they are brushing their teeth. It’s especially crucial for kids to brush before going to bed. Failing to brush at bedtime allows the sugar to sit on their teeth all night, doing more damage. Flossing well is essential too, making sure that kids get the bacteria that’s between teeth where they can’t reach with their toothbrush.
While you want your kids to have plenty of fun at Halloween, you do not want them to end up with a mouth full of cavities a few months later. Use these tips to focus on moderation this Halloween so your kids have a wonderful time without causing damage to their teeth.