Halloween and Dental Health – a Parent’s Guide

Halloween and Dental Health – a Parent’s Guide

With Halloween right around the corner, many parents begin to dread the amounts of candy that come home in the Halloween bucket as well as the inevitable sugar crash that comes after!  Cavities are directly related to high sugar foods and can be prevented by following a few important tips.

  1. Eat a nutritious meal before going out. A full, balanced meal should be eaten prior to heading out the door on October 31st.  Ensuring your child has had adequate nutrition will help to prevent them from eating too much candy later.
  2. Communicate expectations. Set a time limit for your child to trick-or-treat.  This will effectively limit the amount of candy he or she receives.  Discuss how many treats per day your child will be allowed after Halloween and at what time of day.  For example, after a well-balanced meal is a better time to eat an agreed upon number of treats rather than spreading them throughout the day.  If treats are eaten throughout the day, the sugar combined with existing dental plaque will cause the teeth to become soft.  If this happens frequently enough, it will result in cavities.
  3. Choose your treat of choice wisely. Hard or sticky candies spend a much longer time in the mouth resulting in a higher chance of getting a cavity.  Chips or even a chocolate bar (without sticky bits inside) are much better choices for tooth health.
  4. Avoid sugary beverages. We recommend this all of the time, but especially on Halloween when sugary treats are being consumed.  Having a pop is like bathing your teeth in sugar.  Drinking pop, and even juice on a regular basis has been linked to a higher incidence of cavities in both children and adults.
  5. Brush your teeth well. Prior to bed and after eating, developing great brushing and flossing habits are essential to overall oral health and cavity risk reduction.  Brush for at least two minutes with a fluoridated toothpaste for best results.  Check out our blog post to see alternatives to flossing
  6. Have fun! I think we can all remember how fun it was to be a kid at Halloween.  Let them go out, have a great time with friends and enjoy a few sweet treats – in moderation of course!