This post was written by Amanda Blair, our Community Relations Coordinator in Decatur, IL.
Halloween is around the corner...
which for most children means bags of free candy and a chance to build a stockpile of sweets for the winter. No surprise, Halloween can also present parents with a variety of health and safety challenges.
Here are some tips to make your kids Halloween as mouth healthy as possible!
Eat Halloween candy (and other sugary foods) with meals or shortly after mealtime. Saliva production increases during meals and helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria and helps rinse away food particles.
Avoid hard candy and other sweets that sit in the mouth for a long time. Unless it is a sugar-free product, candies that stay in the mouth for a long period of time subject teeth to an increased risk for tooth decay.
- Sticky candies cling to teeth. The stickier candies, like taffy and gummy bears, take longer to get washed away by saliva, increasing the risk for tooth decay.
- When buying candy for Halloween, look for treats that can be eaten quickly.
- Also, opt for buying small toys, healthy fruit, pencils, stickers instead of candy!
- Set a time of day to eat Halloween candy. This ritual “treat time” may last long after Halloween and help promote a healthy mindset about treats.
Children can learn that eating sweets shouldn’t be an all-day feast. Moderation is key for good dental health.
These are the candies to avoid if you have braces and still want to trick-or-treat
- Caramel (and whole candy apples)
- Fruit roll-ups
- Anything ‘gummy’
- Hard candies
- Any candy containing nuts, ie, peanut brittle
Halloween is a fun and exciting time for everyone. And even though this holiday can be risky for kids’ health and teeth, there are many ways to have fun while protecting those precious smiles!