Trick or treat!? It’s that time of the year again, when children embark on their own expeditions around the neighborhood, clad in a variety of costumes ranging from the complexity of a modern-day mini-dracula or an outfit as simple as a white sheet thrown over the head in a basic yet accurate imitation of Casper the lovable ghost. While there is an argument to be made that children love ALL holidays, whether it’s Christmas and the massive chocolate yule logs that accompany it or Easter, with its chocolate easter eggs that seem to grow larger every year, there is no doubt that Halloween holds a special place in the hearts of kids.
It may be a time of joy for children but this time of the year is also a time of busy misery for dentists. An inevitable byproduct of sagging, overflowing bags of candy is the damage to teeth that comes with it. An extremely important part of Halloween is to keep in mind that we also hand out chocolate, sweets and candy to other kids. We are not only responsible for the oral health and hygiene of our own children, but also have an effect on the teeth of other kids with the candy that we hand out.
With that, let’s get right into it and take a closer look at some important do’s and don’ts to be practiced during the festive Halloween season!
Tips For Choosing Halloween Candy
- Not all candy is equal. Some candy is worse for the teeth than others. Compare and contrast your options before purchasing candy to give to your kids or to hand out to potential trick or treat enthusiasts.
- ADA approved gum only! Chewing gum and bubble gum is a staple amongst children today. Remember to choose ADA approved gum candy that meets safety guidelines. Oh and make sure they don’t swallow it by mistake either!
- Sugar Free options are the way to go. There are a plethora of sugar free and comparatively healthier alternatives to the usual suspects, as far as candy and sweets are concerned.
- Stick to non-sticky options. Sticky candy and sweets are especially bad for teeth due to their tendency to cling to surfaces in all corners of the mouth. These are difficult to get rid of, all the more so if kids do not practice healthy oral hygiene habits.
Prohibiting children from consuming sweet snacks during this time of the year would be downright cruel and let’s face it, you don’t want a mutiny on your hands. To keep the ship steady, you’d be better off enforcing some strict but simple oral hygiene habits and making sure that kids practice them during this time of the year.
- Rather than letting kids gorge on sweets through the day, limit consumption of goodies to a particular time of the day. The longer sweets stay in the mouth, the higher is the risk of cavities and other damage.
- The best time is right after meal time. This prevents kids from binge eating sweets round the clock and instead allows them to consume them in place of dessert.
- Switch to a fluoride based toothpaste for the week. If your kids teeth haven’t fallen out and been replaced by a permanent set, increasing the fluoride content of the toothpaste is terrific for protecting them from damage during this perilous period. The same applies to adults so you might want to practice that yourself too.
- Increase hydration levels. While this is sound advice on any day of the week, drinking a lot of water is particularly helpful during Halloween as it helps wash the mouth and prevent sugar and candy bits from settling between teeth.
- Don’t forget your toothbrush! Just putting some extra emphasis on how important it is for kids to brush their teeth twice a day. In fact, around Halloween, you might want to increase that to once after every meal.
- Book a dentist appointment right after the festivities end. Dentists can provide deep cleaning and target between the teeth as well as all the nooks and crannies that children cannot reach. Post-Halloween, the situation calls for a thorough job and that’s what you should go for.
The importance of oral hygiene is not to be underestimated, especially as a bit of laziness and lack of care on our part can result in long-term repercussions for our children. These tips are simple, easy and most importantly, effective. We wish you a Happy Halloween and a productive trick or treat haul!