It’s Halloween and candy is everywhere! There are a lot of scary things about Halloween…but cavities don’t have to be one of them!
Odds are, if your child is going trick-or-treating this year they will return with a lot of treats that are not good for their teeth. They can still participate in the fun of dressing up and going door-to-door, but there are a few small things you can do to minimize the risk of all that candy harming your kids’ teeth. Here are a few simple tips that can make a huge impact!
- Use moderation. Encourage your child to eat fun-sized candies instead of a full candy bar. The smaller portions have just as much flavor but a fraction of the sugars and calories.
- Drink water. Besides having positive overall health benefits, water is great for your teeth and mouth too! Drinking water helps rinse away sugar that would otherwise cling to teeth. It also balances out the pH levels in your mouth that sugar makes unbalanced.
- Limit candy consumption. Try to refrain from letting your child eat their Halloween candy throughout the day. Instead, have them eat a few pieces with lunch or dinner.
- Avoid sticky or chewy candy. Candies that are especially sticky such as gummy bears, caramels, and taffy get stuck on your teeth and are difficult to remove even with regular brushing and flossing. Try to avoid these candies, as they can remain on the teeth for prolonged periods of time and cause tooth decay more rapidly.
- Steer clear of anything sour. The acid in sour candies is extremely harmful to tooth enamel and causes it to breakdown quickly.
- Chew sugar-free gum. Chewing sugar-free gum helps to increase saliva flow, which helps to wash away acids and bacteria present after eating candy. Gum containing xylitol is especially effective because xylitol actively blocks the production of decay-causing acid on the teeth. Learn more about the benefits of xylitol.
- Avoid candies that last. Hard candy and lollipops take a long time to dissolve and stay in your child’s mouth for an extended period of time. This leaves plenty of time for teeth to get coated in sugar and for bacteria to start to turn that sugar into acid.
- Brush teeth soon after eating candy. As always, brushing teeth is the best way to keep them cavity-free. Have your child brush their teeth as soon after eating candy as possible to remove the harmful bacteria.
- Encourage your kids to participate in Halloween candy buyback programs! Some communities host candy buyback programs where children can exchange their candy for a monetary reward. Search for a buyback near you: Halloween Candy Buyback.
With these tips in mind, your family is ready to have a great Halloween!