10-17-2018

Surviving the Sugar Rush of Halloween

Written by Heather Siler

It’s that time of year again! Halloween is coming, and all ghosts and goblins are ready to be inundated with sugar! If eaten in moderation, sugar is harmless barring other health issues. The problem is that it’s very addictive and overindulging can cause health issues. What’s more enticing than a plastic pumpkin filled with all sorts of gooey sweets?

How do parents pry the pumpkin full of goodness from their child’s death grip? First, the candy must be surrendered to mom or dad the minute trick-or-treating is over. As difficult as this will be, it’s the only way to get control of the situation.

Second, remove all the hard and sour candy. Hard candy continuously bathes the teeth in sugar, and sour candy is very acidic. Eating acidic candy is very detrimental and causes damage to the teeth. It’s far better to chew a piece of softer candy and swallow it quickly. Suckers can last upwards of ten minutes, and that’s far too long to be in the mouth.

Third, allow the child a maximum of two pieces of candy per day. One piece in the morning after a healthy breakfast and one piece in the afternoon after school is enough. Let them choose which piece they want to eat because it will show them that they have a choice in the matter. After consuming, have them rinse with plain water. Eating candy coats the teeth with sugar and causes a very acidic environment. Brushing while the mouth is acidic can harm the teeth.

Fourth, be diligent with home care. A proper oral hygiene regiment is important throughout the year, but especially during the holidays. Brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste at least twice per day and flossing at least once per day is crucial. It may also be beneficial to add an over-the-counter fluoride rinse for children over five. Consult with a dental professional before beginning any fluoride treatment at home.

By using these tips and being firm and consistent, all ghouls will be happy and healthy, and Halloween will be a screaming success!