It’s almost here… Halloween! The trick-or-treating. The parties. The costumes. The ghouls and goblins. The candy. Oh, the candy. It’s a time of year that can bring your kids loads of fun… and, if they’re not careful, loads of cavities. Naturally, as a parent, you want your children to have the time of their lives choosing their costumes, getting all ready for that big party or night of going to door-to-door with their friends. But you don’t want them to overdo it on the candy, and not just because you don’t want them getting all hyped up on sugar, either. You know that all that extra sugar can lead to cavities. And what’s a cavity? It’s nothing more than tooth decay. If you’re a parent who’s dreading Halloween for its notorious ability to bring on the tooth decay, try following some of these dental health tips to help keep your kids’ teeth healthy no matter how much candy they get.
Fun or none
Thankfully for parents, it isn’t necessary to make children choose between one extreme or the other. Understandably, you don’t want them gorging themselves on their Halloween candy. By the same token, you don’t need to restrict their consumption of it to nearly nil. Kids want to indulge in their trick-or-treat goodies and, if left to their own devices, indulge they shall. All you, as a parent, need to do is exactly what a parent should… set limits. Deprivation isn’t the message you want to send your kids, especially after they’ve had the time of their lives and brought home all those treats. If they feel deprived, they’ll likely end up binging. So, when your kids get back from their night of fun, have them go through their bags and pick out their favorites. Then allow them to have a couple a day. Remind them that, this way, their candy will last longer.
A teaching moment
You bet! In fact, as a parent, you probably already know that nearly every occasion can have a teaching moment tucked inside it. Halloween is a great time to teach kids about moderation. It’s also a good opportunity to teach them about nutrition and the fact that it’s not just candy and sweets that can do a number on their teeth. Many snacks that most parents might consider the ‘good guys,’ especially when compared to sugary candies, can still harm teeth. Processed, starchy snacks such as pretzels and even fruit juices can also be major contributors to the development of cavities. Halloween is the ideal time to teach your kids how to find a happy medium between the nightmare of not indulging in their treats at all, and the fright of a mouthful of cavities.
All goodies are not created equal
Quite simply… no. Okay, so most candies, especially those that are made with refined sugars, are pretty bad for teeth. However, believe it or not, there are some sweet treats that are actually good for your children’s teeth. Any of today’s sugarless candies and gums are actually considered a positive for dental health. One reason is because they don’t fill the mouth with bad bacteria like treats with refined sugars in them can. Another reason is because they help to create saliva in the mouth, a substance which helps to kill bad bacteria. Other candies that are best for teeth include some chocolates, especially dark chocolate for its high nutrient content and even antibacterial compounds; and candy bars that have nuts in them, because the nuts help to dissipate the sugar, breaking down its negative effects on teeth. So which candies are worst for your kids’ teeth? The sticky, gooey kinds, like gummy bears and worms, caramels, and lollipops. These are bad because their refined sugars stay on teeth longer. Does this mean you have to restrict your kids from eating them? Not at all. Just teach them moderation, and make sure they brush after eating.
Halloween is notorious for ruining kids’ teeth. That one single night can be both a parent’s nightmare and a foe to dentists everywhere. Yes, that’s right… contrary to what you may have heard, dentists hate it when kids have bad teeth. That’s why they’ve made it their life’s work to rid the world of bad teeth. And it’s why experts in the dental field recommend that all parents whose kids are going trick-or-treating try some of the above dental health tips. Look, do your kids want a lot of candy for Halloween? Sure. Are your kids going to get a lot of candy on Halloween? You bet. But does that mean cavities are a foregone conclusion for this time of year? Of course not! It only means that, as a parent, you’ll need to be a little more diligent and put to use some of the tips you’ve learned here.