With fall setting in, and holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas in our midst, it’s exciting to have all the school parties, trick-or-treating, and special family meals quickly approaching. With all of those events though, often comes candy, desserts, and drinks that are loaded with sugar, which make our children’s teeth susceptible to tooth decay. Get off on the right foot, by following these five tips to having a healthy Halloween for your child’s teeth.
Limit Halloween Candy Intake
After October 31 has arrived, be sure to monitor your child’s consumption of their Halloween candy stash. Limit their intake to just two or three pieces each day. Include one piece for their lunch, and let them have one or two pieces after dinner. As a parent, set a good example for them by avoiding candy binges yourself, and making healthy food choices in your own eating habits.
Make Teeth-Brushing Mandatory
Hopefully teeth-brushing is already part of your family’s routine, but consider enforcing a quick brush any time after your child eats a piece of their Halloween candy. Brushing their teeth right away helps remove food debris and plaque before it gets too settled in your child’s mouth and starts to cause decay. Take a look at these healthy Halloween candy alternatives.
Don’t Allow Candy Grazing
When your child does indulge in their Halloween candy, be sure they’re not grazing on it throughout the day. If they plan to eat an entire piece of candy, rather than eating half of it and saving the other half for two hours later, allow them to eat the whole piece in one sitting. Sugar from candy creates an acid-decaying effect in our mouths that lasts for about two hours once the first bite of candy is taken. Rather than causing an all-day decaying effect, enjoy the candy consumption in the moment but don’t allow for it to be spread throughout the day, where your child’s teeth are constantly exposed to sugar.
Freeze Halloween Candy
Convince your children of the excitement they’ll have when they still have Halloween candy later in the winter and spring. Not only will this slow down their consumption during this candy season, but they’ll still have treats remaining when Halloween candy is typically long-gone. Additionally, if it’s tucked away in the freezer, it will be out-of-sight and out-of-mind for everyone in the house.
Strike a Trade-In Halloween Candy Deal
A large portion of your child’s Halloween candy stash likely includes pieces they don’t even care for much, but will still eat simply because it’s Halloween candy (and be sure to avoid the worst Halloween candy for teeth!). Tell your children to pick out a few of their favorite pieces of their Halloween candy, and offer a nickel for each piece of candy that they trade in from their candy bag. This way, your children still get to enjoy the fun of receiving Halloween candy, but avoid the Halloween candy glut that hits most American homes the week following Halloween, after the hype of Halloween has passed.
This is a fun time of year for families with young children. Enjoy the excitement that comes with trick-or-treating, but make wise choices when it comes to candy consumption to ensure your child’s teeth endure a healthy Halloween.