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Halloween is likely one of your child’s favorite holidays. From tricks and treats to dressing up as their favorite characters, children always look forward to collecting bags full of candy from the neighbors. However, as a parent, the image of your child’s teeth rotting from sugar consumption is probably giving you nightmares, and you’re not alone.
Halloween is a great time to give parents and children alike a chance to freshen up on their dental hygiene habits. Ensure the entire family survives the annual Halloween-candy-apocalypse with these tricks.
Be Selective With Sweets
There is no chance of you being able to convince your kids to give up all of their Halloween candy they just worked all night for, so aim to be selective with the sweets that they are allowed to consume instead. Not all Halloween treats are scary. An excellent dental hygiene rule-of-thumb is to encourage candy that melts fast and can be eaten quickly. This will lessen the amount of time the sugar stays in contact with the teeth.
When your kids come home after going door-to-door, sit down with them and go through their bag of Halloween treats together. Have them choose a few pieces (you decide how many) they would like to have at that moment and store the rest away.
Hide the Excess Candy
Leaving baskets and bins of Halloween candy out in plain-site on the kitchen table will only encourage everyone in the family to grab a piece or two as they walk by. Instead of leaving it out, try storing all of the collected candy in a secret place out of reach from kids. Parents are often just as guilty of sneaking a piece or two of leftover candy, so stashing the candy will mean better oral hygiene for you too.
The best time to enjoy Halloween candy is after a meal as a treat. Keeping the candy put away will keep you from picking at it throughout the day and will reduce the number of sugars that are in your mouth that lead to tooth decay. Once the candy has been enjoyed, encourage everyone to brush their teeth and rinse their mouth afterward to neutralize the sugar and acid production.
Set a Halloween Treat Time
Rather than giving your child free-range of their Halloween candy, parents should set a “treat time” to teach their children that sweets should be eaten sparingly. Not only will this help you from having to tell your child no every time they ask for some of their Halloween candy, but it will encourage them to realize on their own that candy is only to be eaten at certain times during the day, and not whenever they wish. The best time to enjoy Halloween candy is after a meal.
Enjoy Treats In Moderation
Halloween is the one holiday out of the year that is created towards child enjoyment. We encourage the parents of our young patients not to deny your children the fun experience of Halloween just because candy is a big part of it. Letting your little ones have fun enjoying the goodies they collect (in moderation) is perfectly okay and part of the magic of the Halloween.
Many parents are choosing to donate excessive candy to local charities, and others freeze it so consider these two alternative ideas if you have more candy than you need or if you do not want to throw it away.
Give Extra Attention To Oral Hygiene
The Halloween season is a great time to talk to your kids about candy and their teeth. Consider sitting down with them to discuss how eating too many sweets can lead to them getting cavities. Teach them how eating an excessive amount of sugar is not good for their teeth and help them learn that what they eat has an effect on their oral health from a young age.
It’s also important to remind your children to brush and floss their teeth after eating treats. If your child is under the age of 8, help them brush their teeth to ensure they are not missing any spots when they brush and floss.
Don’t forget to schedule regular dental cleanings and exams for your children with Hoffman Dental Care to help keep their teeth healthy and bright.