Kids love Halloween. They get to dress up as a favourite character, participate in fun activities, and best of all head out trick-or-treating to collect a bag full of candy. However, if you are worried about how Halloween candy affects your children’s teeth, here’s everything you should know about trick-or-treating and your children’s teeth.
The Worst Halloween Candy For Teeth
If you want to reduce the impact your kids’ Halloween treats have on their teeth, you can remove the following candies when you are checking their loot:
- Sticky and chewy candies such as toffees, taffy, and caramels stick to teeth and make it easier for cavity-causing bacteria to do their worst.
- Hard candy such as lollipops increase the risk for dental emergencies such as cracks, lost fillings and other damage while also leaving sugar in their mouths longer for the same effect as above.
- Sour candy is a double whammy of cavity-causing sugar and acids that work together to weaken enamel and cause cavities.
- Caramel or candy-coated popcorn contains unpopped kernels that can break teeth, sticky coatings that increase bacteria, and the potential for irritating husks to get caught between the teeth or along the gumline.
Avoiding these popular Halloween candies will help reduce risk for cavities and other dental issues.
Better Halloween Candy For Teeth
While all candy contains sugars, one of the better choices is plain chocolate, or chocolate treats like Kit Kat or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Plain chocolate on its own is sugary, but it also dissolves in the mouth quickly, reducing bacteria buildup. The other two treats are also less likely to cause issues compared to harder, stickier choices. In fact, peanut butter cups contain protein and fiber making them the lesser of the two evils.
Healthy Halloween Tips
You can help make Halloween a little less of a dental threat with these tips:
- Visit fewer homes and use a smaller treat bag to reduce the amount of candy collected
- Make sure kids know not to eat anything from their treat bag until they get home and you’ve checked through their haul
- Let kids have a treat only after meals to reduce the amount they eat each day
- Toss the hard and sticky candies to reduce the risk for decay and tooth damage
- Store the treats away to avoid binge eating
- Set a time each day for them to choose a treat from their bag
- Have them rinse with water after they finish a treat instead of immediately brushing or flossing as this can force the sugars further into the teeth (of course they should still brush and floss before bed)
- Avoid the temptation to substitute what you might think is a healthier snack choice like fruit roll-ups or dried fruit, as these snacks are just as bad for teeth as sticky and chewy candies!
These tips will help make your Halloween more teeth- and smile-friendly. Just keep in mind, unless you’re a completely sugar-free home, it’s probably unrealistic to want to keep your kids from enjoying Halloween along with their friends. However, you can enjoy a safer, healthier Halloween using the good old motto of everything in moderation.