Halloween has got to be a dentist’s least favorite holiday. Just the thought of all that chocolate, caramel and sugar resting on the teeth and between the cracks makes them cringe. There’s no doubt about it, Halloween is not a holiday that does teeth any good. Everything about it screams sticky, gooey treats and candies of all sorts. It’s a nightmare of scary costumes, horror movies and fattening, teeth rotting foods. Thankfully, there are some dental hints and tips that carry us through the holiday with as little damage as possible.
Don't Deny Halloween Fun
One tip dentists recommend is not to deny the Halloween fun. It’s a tradition and all the kids are doing it. Keeping your kids out of the fun just because of all the candy makes it even more irresistible. You may find them sneaking candy or binging. Instead try portioning out the candy. Each night after Halloween, have them choose 10 pieces of candy. Put the rest away for the next night or the next week.
Set a Time
You can also set a treat time when children are allowed to sit and eat their treats for a specific amount of time. This encourages healthy thinking about eating sugary snacks at specific times as opposed to all day long. They also look forward to this time and will keep good behavior in mind if no treat time is a punishment.
Parental Tricks and Treats
Eat a big dinner before going out trick or treating. Having a full belly will deter over-eating when you get home with full bags of candy. Another parental trick is making sure kids drink plenty of water after their candy eating. This is a big help, especially if you can’t get to a toothbrush right away. As soon as the candy extravaganza is complete, make sure the kids brush extra well, use floss and mouthwash.
Dentists recommend choosing candies that melt or dissolve quickly. Even the sticks of pure powdered sugar aren’t as bad as you’d think. Sure, its pure sugar but it dissolves quickly and residue rinses away with a drink of water. Of course, sugar free candy and gum are the best choices but aren’t always what the neighbors give out or what children want. Chewy and hard candies are the hardest on teeth. They stick around in the mouth longer, getting hinged between teeth and embedded in molars. They take a bit of extra brushing to be fully get rid of.
Visiting your dentist before Halloween can put some tricks in the parent’s bag. Have some sealants put on your children’s teeth prior to the candy eating. You can also ask for tablets that children can eat prior to brushing their teeth that show the places plaque and tartar have built up the most. This will help make sure their teeth end up really clean.
Halloween can be fun no matter what your personal philosophy on candy eating may be, by using a few of these tips everyone can have a great time and a great smile. Protect your teeth during this frightfully sweet holiday.