Halloween is right around the corner. While the 2020 Halloween may be different from year’s past, one thing will stay the same. Kids will get candy and will want to binge eat it. Don’t worry! This Houston dental practice isn’t going to ruin the fun. We don’t say no to Halloween or candy. Instead, we would love to offer parents 15 dental tips for a healthy Halloween. With these tips, your costumed little monsters can enjoy all the trick or treat fun without you being scared about them rotting their teeth.
- Eat Before You Trick or Treat.
Before you take the kids trick or treating, make sure you eat dinner. This will prevent your kids from wanting to snack on their candy as they trick or treat. Plus, it’ll give you all the energy you need to make it through the neighborhood.
- Know Which Candy is Best.
Some Halloween candy is better than others when it comes to your teeth. Keep this in mind when you are purchasing candy for trick or treaters and when you are sorting through your kid’s candy. Ideally, you want to stay away from candy that may stick to the teeth, such as caramel and taffy. Additionally, you want to avoid all sour candy. Healthline explains, “Sour candy contains more and different kinds of acids that are tougher on your teeth. Plus, because they’re chewy, they stick to your teeth for a longer time, so they’re more likely to cause decay.”
So, what sort of candy is best for Halloween according to dentists? Surprisingly, chocolate. In particular, go for dark chocolate when possible.
- Make Candy Rules.
Before your kids dive right into the Halloween candy dish, make some candy rules. This will look different to every family depending on your parenting style. For example, some parents may choose to offer their kids a candy allowance, such as earning Halloween candy for doing a chore or good behavior. Other families may choose to give their kids a candy budget, such as two pieces of candy each day. Ultimately, make realistic rules and stay consistent.
- Drink Lots of Water.
Drinking water is a great way to clean your teeth in between meals and protect teeth from bacteria. When you know your kids are eating more candy than usual because of Halloween, encourage them to drink more water.
- Consider Alternatives to Treats.
When shopping for treats to give trick or treaters, consider alternatives to candy. Now, we aren’t saying you should give trick or treaters toothbrushes or floss, but young trick or treaters and their parents will thank you for providing other options. For example, consider giving out temporary tattoos, stickers, bouncy balls, slap bracelets, or cool pencils.
- Donate Your Extra Candy.
Part of the fun of trick or treating is simply going door to door to collect the candy. Just because your kids get bags full of candy doesn’t mean they have to eat it all. Instead, donate your extra candy to a candy collection program. For instance, some Houston dental practices offer candy buy back programs. Additionally, you can search for a Halloween Candy Buy Back program near you that donates the extra candy to troops overseas. Kids can earn money and other rewards for donating.
- Choose Healthy Goodies.
Sure, kids expect candy when they knock on your door and yell “Trick or Treat!” But there are many healthier goodies they will appreciate, such as bags of pretzels, goldfish, sunflower seeds, or sugar-free chewing gum.
- Eat Candy in Moderation.
Your Houston dental practice does not recommend taking your kid’s candy away after trick or treating without letting them enjoy a piece. That seems like torture! Instead, we recommend allowing your child to enjoy some treats in moderation.
- Sort Your Kid’s Candy.
As soon as you get home from trick or treating, sort your kid’s candy. Not only will this help you determine the candy is safe and hasn’t been tampered with, but it will also allow you to sort the candy into the keep and toss piles. Keep the chocolate; toss the sour candy.
- Save Some Candy for Christmas.
Since you want to limit the amount of Halloween candy in your home after October 31st, hide some away after you sort it. Take this hidden pile and use it to stuff your child’s Christmas stocking. Just make sure you don’t choose candy with Halloween décor on the packaging for the hidden Christmas stash.
- Talk to Your Kids About Cavities.
Halloween is the perfect time to talk to your kids about cavities. No, not because of the fear factor. Simply because your kids will be better able to understand the connection between eating sugar and cavities. Use this to your advantage to explain why good dental hygiene and healthy foods are so important.
- Store Candy Out of Reach.
Do not keep your kid’s Halloween candy within their reach or in a candy dish on the kitchen counter. This is way too tempting (for kids and adults). Instead, try to follow the motto: out of sight, out of mind. Put it where they can’t even see it. They won’t forget it is in the house, but they will be much less likely to sneak it and eat more than they should.
- Offer Candy Trades.
When your kid starts to beg for candy, offer a trade. For example, instead of eating candy, they can get fifteen more minutes of screen time. Or offer little toys, money, or new clothes in exchange for their Halloween candy. Essentially, they can use their Halloween candy to “buy” other things.
- Maintain Healthy Habits.
Be sure your kids know they need to maintain healthy dental habits. Just because they have a bag full of candy doesn’t mean the dental routine has gone out the window. Kids should be just as diligent brushing and flossing.
Greenspoint Dental in Houston hopes you have a safe and fun Halloween!