It’s that time of year again! Kids are excited to dress up, go door to door and get loads of candy as trick-or-treat.
Did you know Americans spend over $2 billion on Halloween candy a year? That’s over 600 million pounds of candy! While the majority of the candy is not for themselves, but other people’s children, candy is all over the place around this time of year.
If your children are part of the 40+ million trick or treaters come October 31, they’ll likely come home with enough candy for your entire household to last several months.
Protecting Teeth During Halloween
Here are a few great tips and “tricks” from Dr. Brett Kingma, at Kingma Pediatric Dentistry in Grand Rapids, MI, to ensure that your child enjoys a healthy Halloween, and has healthy teeth now and in the future.
1.) Hold onto the bag
If your kid keeps the bag of candy, good luck trying to control how much candy they’ll eat. The solution? You hold onto it and keep it in a place where they can’t access it. You’re the boss and in control! Inform your child of this prior to trick-or-treating, so they know the ground rules.
2.) Moderation is key
After trick-or-treating, set a specific treat time with your child for when they can eat a treat. Limit this to 1-2 treats per day. A child doesn’t need more than this. Clear rules makes it better for everyone. It’s more harmful to eat candy or drink sugary beverages throughout the day, as this is constantly putting sugar in their mouth. Having a treat after a meal or snack is better. When children eat candy throughout the day, it’s more likely they’ll get cavities.
3.) Avoid the biggest culprits
We all know some candy is worse than others. Examples of these include candy with very high sugar content, sticky candy, gooey candy, taffy, lollipops, and gummy candy. Sticky candy clings to teeth, as it takes longer for saliva to wash it away, and thus increasing the risk for cavities. Treats that are less harmful to teeth include chocolate, sugarfree gum, and pretzels.
4.) Talk about health eating and good oral hygiene
Your child will likely ask many questions about why you have set rules for eating candy. This is a great time to talk about candy, brushing their teeth, and eating healthy! Candy has ‘sugar bugs’ in it, which can hurt your teeth and cause cavities. Brushing and not eating candy helps prevent cavities and keep teeth strong and healthy. Keep it simple!
5.) Give it away
Your child doesn’t need all that candy. And let’s be honest – you don’t either! What to do with the extra? You can give it away. Have your child decide and be involved, it can be a fun, educational experience for them as well! You can bring it to a local charity, mission, church, or school.
Dr. Brett Kingma and his staff at Mitten Kids Dentistry in Grand Rapids, MI want you and your families to enjoy this time of year! We also want our patients to learn how to properly care for their teeth, have healthy eating habits, and have smilies they can be proud of for years to come!