Halloween is right around the corner and for most kids that means bags of free candy. As we approach Halloween day I think we should talk about some tips and tricks from a dentist’s point of view to help your kids have a healthier day while still reaping the benefits of Halloween (read: candy!). We’re not so naïve that we believe kids will avoid candy or that you as their parents will be able to prevent them from having a few pieces of candy on this particular holiday. However, we can teach our children to be smart about their choices while still allowing them to indulge a little bit. Here are some tips to help you and your family enjoy Halloween this year without any added guilt.
- Be selective.
While candy is generally not necessarily good for you, there are some better choices than others. Try to pick candy that has a lower amount of sugar in them. Pick out candy that won’t stick to your teeth like caramel; instead choose candies like chocolate that are swallowed quickly without lingering in your mouth. Also try to avoid candies that are very acidic and chewy; they will create more bad bacteria in your mouth which will cause issues for you. My number one trick-or-treat favorite that is on the healthier side is Hershey’s dark chocolate kisses. Give them a try…you won’t be disappointed and neither will your teeth!
- Moderation is key.
Like pretty much everything else in life, everything in moderation is okay. Have you ever noticed when you go on a diet and really restrict yourself from everything you love, that you eventually give in and instead of having a cheat day, you end up having a cheat month? It all goes back to moderation. You don’t need to completely deprive yourself or your children. Teach your kids about moderation early on. For Halloween, set up some rules to help them with this. Limit their candy intake to 2-3 pieces per day at a time of day that is acceptable to you. Or once you get home from trick-or-treating on Halloween night, go through their bags of candy and let them pick 10-15 pieces of candy they want to keep and have them donate the rest or trade the rest of their bag in for a special toy at the store. Come up with whatever candy rules you’re comfortable with and go with it.
- Eat first.
Before you venture out with your little trick-or-treaters, make sure to sit down and eat a well-balanced meal together first. Fill your little people up with protein which will help them to keep their energy levels up while they’re out walking around. This will also help them to be less apt to try to sneak in some Halloween sweets as they’re walking around at night.
- Keep hydrated.
Make sure you encourage your children to keep taking sips of water in between their treats. This will help wash down all of the bad bacteria they may have floating around in their mouths, as well as the sugar that will be sitting on their teeth.
- Brush, floss, repeat.
This one should be a given, but it’s extra important to incorporate this into your night on Halloween. Once all the fun is done, the candy has been sorted, and the kids are in their PJ’s, it’s important to remind them to brush their teeth and floss. Brush away all of the sugar they’ve had during this special night. Their teeth will thank them for it in the morning, trust me!
Halloween doesn’t have to be a guilt-ridden night. Let your kids be kids while helping them to make healthier choices for their teeth. If you want to take it one step further and give your little ones another treat, call our office to make their post-Halloween dental cleaning appointment. You can do that by calling us at Charmoy Dental // 973-584-0008. We have no tricks here, only treats for you and your family. Happy Halloween!