Halloween is all about tricks and treats. The trick for parents is how to keep their kids healthy and safe. Considerations should include the type of costume, treat collecting route, and of course the weather. For kids Halloween means bags of free goodies. For parents it present challenges when it comes to the collected hoard of treats. Do I give them a little at the time, or do I let them indulge until they make themselves feel sick? That choice is yours to make, but it is important to have a plan.
Since we see the ravages of sweets, here are a few tips to consider so that the treats have less of an impact on your kids’ teeth:
Let the kids have their treats with meals or shortly after mealtime. This
allows saliva to wash away some of the harmful acids produced by treat fed
bacteria. Saliva changes at mealtime to provide a buffering effect against
acids which cause decay.
Choose the type of treat carefully. Avoid hard candy and suckers that stay
in the mouth a long time. Sticky candies like gummy bears and toffee get
stuck in the teeth and take longer to get washed away by saliva, increasing
the risk of tooth decay. Sour candies are acidic. The acid causes erosion,
thinning the enamel of the teeth; this also makes them more prone to decay
Drink more water.
Help your children with brushing twice a day and flossing if they can’t do
this by themselves. If it is impossible to brush and floss after sweets,
chew a piece of sugar – free gum to stimulate saliva flow and neutralize the
acid produced by bacteria.
You and your child can come up with a plan on the number of treats they keep
and what to do with the rest.
For those of you giving out treats, you may want to consider healthier
alternatives. How about dollar store stickers or pencils? Another option
that is better than sticky candy is chips or pretzels or Doritos. Do check
the labels to avoid the worry of nut allergies!
If teeth should suffer, see your dentist don’t wait for their regular 6
monthly dental visit.
Happy Trick or Treating!