Halloween is a perfect time to reinforce good dental habits to ensure for a healthy Halloween!
Halloween can be thrilling for both parents and children. It is a parent’s treat to watch the jittery enthusiasm as children dress-up as favorite characters, willing to brave haunting decorations and scary encounters in exchange for sweet treats. Upon returning home with their stash of goodies, take the opportunity to share lessons in moderation – and to also reinforce good dental habits to make for a healthy Halloween.
Dental Tips for a Healthy Halloween
- Don’t allow Halloween candy to substitute for healthy snacks, such as cheese, peanut butter, or celery and carrot sticks.
- Sugars and starches increase the amount of bacterial acid in the mouth. Best practice is to brush teeth within 20 minutes after enjoying Halloween treats to prevent the promotion of cavities.
- Limit treats to times right after meals when saliva is at its maximum to counteract sugar acids. Teach children to save candy or share it with others – or find unique ways to decrease the stockpile of candy.
- Drink plenty of fluoridated water from bottle or tap; eliminate sugary sports drinks, sodas, and packaged fruit drinks which all contain added sugars.
- When making a choice between candies, teach children to forego the sticky candies which are difficult to rinse away and hard candies which take a long time to dissolve. The longer the candy is in the mouth, the greater opportunity for tooth decay.
- As you sit with your children to review their candy-haul, steer them towards snack bars and other healthy treats, chocolate bars, and sugarless chewing gum.
- Most importantly, children should understand the responsibility of brushing their teeth after eating sweets. This in addition to the normal twice per day brushing and flossing.
Schedule a late fall dental exam with your children’s dentist to catch any cavities that may have cropped up during summer vacation and Halloween.