If you’ve ever been to our Fairfield office near or on Halloween, you might have guessed that Halloween is one of our favorite holidays. You’d be right! It’s hard to pass up the chance to dress up, and our patients love it too. We enjoy talking with them about their own costumes and plans. Inevitably, someone brings up the topic of Halloween candy, especially related to their kids’ dental health. We have our own sweet tooth, but we do have some recommendations for healthy Halloween treats and general ways to make the holiday festivities more smile-friendly.
Take a look at these ideas before your kids head out collecting candy or before you hit the stores to buy it! Call Fairfield Smiles By Design at 203-254-0545 for those important post-Halloween cleanings, where you can ask any questions about your or your kids’ smiles.
Don’t Dig Into These Disguised Dental Dangers
A great oral hygiene routine at home and in our office goes a long way to prevent any dental problems. That’s true when it comes to eating sweets, too. Still, there are a few sweets that can cause more dental damage than others:
- Hard Candy – Keeps sugars in your kids’ mouths if they suck on it or can damage teeth if chewed
- Sticky & Chewy Candy – Sticks to teeth longer than other sweets, so oral bacteria feeds off it to produce enamel-destroying acid that causes cavities
- Sour Candy – Contains acids that also erode enamel, especially if they’re chewy too (like sour gummies)
We encourage you to filter out some of these from your kids’ candy stash. Talk with your kids beforehand so you can come up with a plan together to accomplish this. Little kids take well to a fun approach, like the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s Mouth Monsters and their Halloween coloring pages. Hang them up after your kiddos color them, and they’ll serve as a daily reminder to care for their teeth.
Some Sweets Aren’t So Scary After All
Even if you limit any candy from the list above, your kids are sure to have plenty of the following treats that are less harmful for their smiles. These are also better suggestions for your trick-or-treaters. Just keep in mind that they shouldn’t be enjoyed too often or throughout the day. The starches like to get stuck in tooth crevices, and even fruit treats contain acids and sugars. Still, your children are better off with these (just pay attention to any allergens):
- Kid-friendly portions of popcorn, crackers, pretzels, and corn or multigrain chips
- Milk chocolate, especially solid/bars
- Chocolate-coated dried fruit and nuts
- Fruit leather
- Juice boxes (real fruit, no added sugar)
- Trail mix
- Small citrus fruit (for example, mandarins)
They’ll Treasure These Treats
If you’re handing out candy, you might want to consider adding some healthy Halloween treats to your little visitors’ bags. You can also remember these when you help your kids sort through their candy. You can even trade your kids’ unhealthy candy for some of them! And if you’re one to sneak into the leftover treats, you won’t have to feel guilty about it.
- Dark chocolate bars
- Sugar-free gum (xylitol is best)
- Individual peanut butter or nut butter packets
Here are some non-candy Halloween ideas if you want to pass on the food altogether. Kids love these kinds of goodies and treasures, and they’ll get more enjoyment from them after the candy’s all gone. Head on over to the dollar store or party aisle with the kids, and they’ll probably let you know their preferences.
- Fake mustaches and other fun Halloween toys
- Glow jewelry and glow sticks
- Fake tattoos
- Mini activity and coloring books, crayons, and markers
- Lip balm
- Modeling clay
- Games, cards, and puzzles
- Erasers and pencils
Scare Off Creepy Cavities
If you’d like to help keep cavities from developing, we have some great tips to follow. Since your kids will be consuming more sugar than normal for Halloween, some of these are especially important, although the same advice can apply year-round.
- Drink water after eating anything sweet or starchy
- Trade candy or the “candy culprits” for better choices
- Choose a specific number of treats each day to eat
- Eat treats only once or twice a day
- Get rid of the candy after a specific period of time
- Brush at morning and night
- Floss once a day
- Get fluoride treatments or sealants during their checkups
All Halloween treats don’t have to be healthy Halloween treats. But even small choices and better oral health habits can help your family’s smiles stay brighter and healthier. That includes regular checkups at Fairfield Smiles By Design. To schedule them for you or an older child, call 203-254-0545 or message us online today. Happy Halloween!