It’s only a week before Halloween. Decorations are out, pumpkins are carved, and your kids have finally selected their costumes. Now as dentists, we are not going to say to skip trick or treating with your kids. On the contrary, a little bit of candy and fun is not bad for your child’s dental health. However, there are steps you can take to ensure that your child doesn’t have to deal with pain in the dental chair due to gum disease or cavities because of too much candy.
Your child might haul home 20 large-sized candy bars and a plethora of smaller snacks. And at their age, the temptation to gorge themselves and eat the entire pot is going to be high. Not would that be bad for their teeth, but your kids will want to keep their candy a few days so they can enjoy it for weeks instead of minutes. Help your child separate their candy and store it so that they can have a few pieces a night after dinner for the upcoming weeks. Encouraging them to create a candy stash doesn’t need to be a hard conversation. Many kids enjoy having a Halloween stash that they can enjoy long term and trade with their siblings and friends. Allowing them to pack a piece or two in their school lunches can be a fun way to encourage this behavior.
The real danger of candy consumption around Halloween is that the caramel and chocolate can get stuck in their teeth. Once stuck, it can continue to rot their teeth for hours. Dental associations recommend that children drink tap water to wash out and rinse their teeth as they eat chocolate. Tap water also contains fluoride in most water supplies which will strengthen their teeth.
The most important thing your kids can do after a candy binge is to brush and floss. Getting rid of excess chocolate, caramel, and nougat in their teeth will protect their enamel and keep their teeth strong. Your children should brush their teeth every night before bed, but on Halloween night is specifically important that they carefully brush and floss.
Not all candies are as dangerous as others. Gummies, caramel, and candies that have sour powder on them cause the most damage to teeth. Meanwhile, simple chocolate bars are much safer. Encouraging your child to go after candies like chocolate bars, sugar-free gum, and other healthy snacks can help protect their teeth.