Halloween candy will soon adorn your dining room table and your child’s teeth, but there’s not reason be afraid of this spooky holiday. Portland dentists Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow and their staff at Mt. Tabor Dental encourage families to use this Halloween to let your children enjoy treats and learn good dental health strategies for the rest of the year.
Halloween Candy Is Not Created Equal
It’s essential to understand that while all candy contains sugar, not all candy is detrimental to your teeth in the same ways. Candy that is sticky and extra-chewy, such as gummy bears, taffy, Starburst, Airheads, caramels and sugar-infused gum, create a residue on the surfaces of teeth and gums that is difficult to remove. This residue sticks around awhile, feeding the bacteria that create plaque on teeth and gums.
Instead of just letting kids eat whatever candy they want, go through and inspect the Trick or Treat loot and have your kids choose their favorites. Steer them away from the ultra sticky candy, or at least limit their consumption. Provide some milk or water to go along with the candy they eat on Halloween night to help wash away sticky, sugary residue.
Treats Don’t Have to Be Sweets
While candy is traditional to hand out to Trick or Treaters on Halloween night, you don’t have to fall in line. Consider offering alternatives to candy, such as fun pencils and erasers, Silly Putty, stickers, temporary tattoos, containers of bubbles, and little plastic spiders. These treats are still fun but without the threat of tooth decay!
If you and your kids absolutely want to hand out candy, consider sugar-free gum or candy with xylitol in it. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that helps keep your teeth from harm.
Offer Rewards for Halloween Candy
Sometimes kids are motivated more by money than by candy. This can be a good opportunity to offer your kids a way to cash in their Halloween candy. Give them a penny, nickel, dime or quarter for each uneaten piece of candy, or give them a special surprise for simply trading their candy in. For example, if they hand over their stash form Trick or Treating, they get an afternoon at the skating rink.
Out of Sight…
Candy that is simply out of sight is less likely to be eaten. You can’t graze on Halloween candy that you don’t see right in front of you. Once Halloween is over and the kids have chosen their favorites or simply traded it in, get the candy out of the house. Donate it for a community event, to a church, or to a school, or send it to US troops oversease through Operation Gratitude.
Regardless of how you and your family manage the Halloween candy in your home this year, it’s imperative to have your kids brush their teeth. Regardless of whether or not they’ve eaten candy, they need to brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes each time to remove any sticky plaque from the surfaces and avoid tooth decay.
The day after Halloween might be the perfect time to bring your kids in for a dental check up with dentists in Portland Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow Call Mt. Tabor Dental at (503) 236-1449 to schedule your appointment!