Halloween is a holiday that many kids love. It’s the one time of year they get to eat lots of candy without their parents getting upset. And being free to dress in spooky costumes and play tricks on people is another plus. But the candy is the star when it comes to Halloween.
The subject of Halloween candy is sometimes a sticky subject for pediatric dentists. It’s OK for kids to have a few sweets, but too much is terrible for their teeth and overall health. Dentists don’t want to ruin the fun, but it’s important that someone set some rules.
Kids love candy no matter the time of year. The difference is that on Halloween (and the entire month of October) candy is plentiful and often free. Here are some suggestions and safety tips from orthodontists about how to stay cavity-free this Halloween.
1. You’re the Parent. You Make the Rules.
Your child is going to get showered with candy for most of October. School parties, church parties, neighbors, grocery stores – your child is going to see candy everywhere. It’s your job to set limits when it comes to how much candy your child can eat.
You don’t have to ruin all the fun, but it’s wise to set some limits. Instead of telling your child they can’t eat any candy, just let them know they can’t eat all of the candy. And you’re the one who decides how much is too much.
2. Set a Time for Eating Candy
Your child would eat candy all day if they could. The last thing you want is for your child to spend an entire day chewing on sweets. So it helps to set a time when the child can actually enjoy a few pieces of candy.
The risk of developing tooth decay is lower when the child eats candy with a meal. Saliva reduces the decay-causing acids in candy. And the mouth produces more saliva when a person is eating a full meal. If your child eats a few pieces of candy after a meal, then they’re less likely to end up with decay.
3. Choose Candy for Your Child
Some candy is worse than others. Hard and sticky candy is the bottom of the barrel when it comes to candy. Sticky candy clings to the teeth and can lead to cavities and decay. And hard candy usually stays in the mouth for longer, especially if it’s too hard to bite. And speaking of biting, hard candy is more likely to lead to chipped teeth. Your child can eat hard and sticky candy. Just make sure it’s eaten in moderation.
4. Make Brushing a Big Deal
Halloween is the perfect time to stress the importance of daily brushing. Remind your child that sugar can harm their teeth. Talk about decay, toothaches, and cavities. Let them know that brushing their teeth is the best way to keep their teeth healthy.
5. Encourage Water Drinking
Your child probably eats more candy in October than any other time of year. That means they need to increase their intake of fluoridated water. This type of water cleans the mouth of acids and helps prevent tooth decay. Some bottled waters contain fluoride, but some don’t. If your child drinks bottled water, check to see if it contains fluoride.
Keep these tips in mind this October. It’s possible for your child to enjoy Halloween and keep their teeth healthy at the same time. If you have more concerns about your child’s teeth, contact us for help.