By Kate Ranta on Oct 27, 2020 @ 09:00 AM
Kids and adults alike love Halloween. But, our favorite Halloween treats can be a nightmare for our teeth. Sugary snacks combined with biting down on hard candy can lead to decay and even cracked teeth. While it's hard to keep kids from attacking their candy piles, there are some smart choices you can make to decrease the odds of spending extra time with your dentist this holiday season.
Below are some tips for dental care for kids on Halloween:
Examine candy: Kids should not eat any candy until you have had a chance to check it. Wrappers should be intact and free from tears. The candy itself should be consistent in color and look fresh. Candy that's recycled from Valentine's Day (or worse, Christmas) should not be eaten months later.
Trading Posts: Halloween can be tough for kids with braces. Most orthodontists have a list of banned foods that consists of a lot of our favorite Halloween candy. Once all the banned candy is removed from the bag, kids may not have much more than a few peanut butter cups left. One way to help kids follow their doctors' instructions and still fully enjoy trick or treating is to start a trading post. All the caramel, nuts and gum that destroy braces can be swapped for safer choices like chocolate.
Chocolate: When it comes to oral health, not all candy is equal. Kids might love Skittles and Air Heads, but these are some of the worst choices for their teeth. Sticky candy gets stuck on molars, pushed between teeth and generally contains the most decay causing sugar. Most dentists would agree that chocolate is the lesser evil when it comes to Halloween candy. Chocolate doesn't linger on teeth surfaces, can be brushed away easily and still satisfies even the most severe sweet tooth.
After A Meal: The best time for your child to indulge in their sweet treats is following their lunch or dinner. This is when saliva production is the highest. The increase in saliva does your child's teeth a favor after eating candy by preventing acid buildup along with rinsing away food particles. This is a healthier alternative than eating candy late at night or through out the day which allows plaque to build up and rest on teeth for longer periods of time, which can lead to cavities.
Brushing: Kids need to know that candy can cause cavities and to prevent cavities they need to brush their teeth regularly. You might need to watch your kids in the days following Halloween to make sure they are brushing long enough and getting the teeth in the back - which is where the candy goodness gets ground in. Extra attention should be paid to flossing too as sticky candies are stubborn and difficult to remove.
All kids should enjoy Halloween! Parents who approach the event with hesitation can feel better knowing they are acting responsibly with their children's dental care. If you are having trouble getting your fussy brusher to brush their teeth after trick or treating, download our free guide below to learn tips that will get your child look forward to brushing!