Parents count it a miracle when their children are able to actually make it out of bed the morning after Halloween, and an even bigger miracle to actually get a good meal in them and then out the door to school. The day after collecting all the candy, then dumping it out on the table to gaze upon their spoils, and carefully planning out which candies they will eat and when the danger for their teeth begins. It’s no mystery that dental care after Halloween is very important. With all that sugar, there are considerable risks for teeth (and bodies), but there are some ways to enjoy the sudden treasure trove of candy while minimizing the damage.
Set Limits for Treats
The abundance of candy in the house makes this a great time to talk about balance and moderation with your family. We all know that feasting on treats all day long is not healthy for anyone in any way, so set a limit—one treat a day (of your child’s choice), or set a specific time for treats like putting a treat in their lunch, or allowing them to have a treat when they come home from school. Not allowing your children to partake in Halloween treats will only increase their desire for them, so teach them about balance, and fill their diet with foods that are good for them—their teeth and bodies.
Avoid “Sticky” Candies
Try to choose the treats that are less dangerous for your teeth, if you can. Caramels, taffy, gummies, and the like pose a greater danger as they are harder for saliva to wash away. They hang around in your mouth, sticking to teeth much longer, and are more likely to cause tooth decay and cavities. Indulging in these types of candies can also contribute to an increase in calls to the emergency dentist, and are particularly dangerous for those with braces.
Eat Treats with Meals
Meals are a great time to indulge in a treat. Saliva production is already heightened, which helps to “wash” the sugar, acids, and food particles away from teeth.
Drink Water, Not Sugary Drinks
Water is so important on any regular day, but it’s even more important during and after Halloween. Since your kids (and probably you, too) are consuming more sugar, adding sugary drinks to the mix isn’t just a nightmare for their teeth, but a nightmare for you too. Make sure that you’re all stepping up your water consumption, and abstain from sugary drinks.
Keep Sugarless Gum On-Hand
When a toothbrush and toothpaste are not nearby, keep some ADA-approved sugarless gum in your car, pocket, or purse. This can especially help while there is greater access to a variety of candies. If you cannot brush right away, chew some sugarless gum to help keep candy residue from sticking to teeth.
Maintain Regular Dental Care
Right now it is more important than ever to continue regular dental routines with your family. The object is not to allow the sugar from treats to sit on your teeth for very long. Continue brushing twice, flossing, and using antibacterial mouthwash every day, so that sugar and acid don’t have a chance to do their damage.
Halloween can be a fun time for everyone in your family. Enjoy the fun, sweet treats, while taking extra care to maintain a healthy diet and healthy dental care habits. Taking care of your teeth during Halloween can save your teeth from unnecessary erosion and decay. Parents can help maintain healthy teeth for kids through common sense—sweets in moderation, and continuing with diligent dental care.