Halloween is a fun time of the year for small and big kids alike. It’s a time for dressing in spooky costumes, watching scary movies, and indulging in lots of candy – toffees, licorice, gummies …. the list is endless. While these treats may taste yummy, their effects aren’t quite so sweet.
So what’s the answer? Stay at home and put Halloween on the back boiler?
No, of course not. We love Halloween as much as anyone. Instead, we’ve put together some top tips on maintaining your healthy smile and avoiding a dental cavity appointment.
Be more picky about your sweet treats. Healthy doesn’t have to mean boring. Instead, choose candy which isn’t quite so bad for your teeth. As a Chesterfield Dentist, we also advise parents and kids to save their candy until after their meal as saliva produced during this time acts as a natural mouthwash and can help protect teeth.
Here are a few options to consider:
Sugar-free hard candies, lollies, and gum – Eating sugar-free candies encourages the mouth to produce more saliva which in turn helps to prevent dry mouth. A person suffering from dry mouth is more likely to encounter cavities due to a build-up of plaque. Chewing sugar-free gum also stimulates the production of saliva and can prevent tooth decay.
Dark chocolate – See, chocolate doesn’t have to completely avoided! Dark chocolate is better for you since it’s rich in antioxidants which are good for heart health and also help to lower your blood pressure. One word of warning – like any chocolate it needs to be eaten in moderation as it contains a lot of sugar which can cause teeth to decay.
Sugary to treats to try and avoid (If this just isn’t possible for you then try and limit your intake)
Candy corn – This fall favorite may seem like an unmissable treat but it’s incredibly scary in that it contains 4 different types of sweeteners including sugar and honey.
Cookies and cakes – like candy corn these yummy treats are high in sugar. The trick is to be strict and limit yourself and your kids to just one cookie or a small slice of cake.
Chewy treats – Who doesn’t love gummies? Unfortunately due to their sticky nature they can easily get stuck between your teeth which makes it difficult for saliva to remove. Trapped food is the number one enemy of cavity prevention!
Sour candies – Yes, these are one of our favorite candies too! Unfortunately, their high acid levels break down the tooth enamel. A top trick is to sip water afterward to neutralize the acids. Don’t be tempted to brush your teeth right away as this can cause the acids to be brushed onto the surface of the teeth. Instead, delay brushing for at least an hour to let the acid disperse.
A lot of the fun of Halloween is handing out sweets to the teeny trick or treaters but why not add an assortment of small inexpensive toys to the candy mix too? These could include spooky stickers, plastic spiders, or even pirate patches. Not only will you be giving out something more original, but your sugarless treats will last far longer too.
There’s no better time than Halloween to start educating your little ones about the importance of caring for their teeth and gums. Along with enjoying holiday sweet treats why not incorporate a before bedtime oral hygiene activity as part of your routine. Find out how much your kids know by asking them to show you how to brush and floss. Be sure to add in any steps they may miss. You can then join them in brushing and flossing your teeth, making dental care a fun thing to do as a family. Over time your little ones will soon become masters of the toothbrush!