Candy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner can sound like a dream for a young child (and sometimes even for an adult), but can be a complete nightmare for your dental health. At Halloween, those sugary foods are readily available, and it’s okay to indulge. However, there are a few tips that can help keep your kids’ smiles from becoming spooky after all of those treats!
1. Set a limit on trick-or-treating.
Most of us have been trick-or-treating before, so we understand that getting to the most houses and gathering up the most candy can be a euphoric feeling at the end of a long Halloween night. In fact, some even think that the big “candy trade” between friends at the end of the night is the best part. Although it may not resonate well with your little one, put a restriction on how many houses to hit and you’ll avoid bringing too many sweets into the house.
Pro tip: Make a game out of it. Maybe the first person to collect 4 of a specific type of candy, or the first to hit 10 houses wins. Not only do you have a bit of friendly competition going, but you’re able to limit the sugar coming in your door!
2. Think outside of the Halloween box!
Trick-or-treating is naturally the first thing that a kid will think of, but it doesn’t always have to be the only thing. Plan a neighborhood get together, or maybe play a spooky movie outside with a projector on your house with a few healthy snacks available. Not only will you prevent your kids from getting too much candy, but you’ll get a ton of thanks from the other families in the neighborhood.
3. Mealtime = Treat time.
Don’t eat candy at all hours of the day – unless, of course, mom or dad needs a quick treat. Instead, combine meal time with treat time, and you’ll have less empty munching. The meal will allow your little one to get full, and they won’t be as focused on eating all of the sugary substances they possibly can. Plus, everyone likes a little dessert with their meal!
4. Treat candy like a reward.
Just as the above tip states, you always want to prevent anybody from just sitting and eating too much candy–even yourself. Just like a bag of chips, candy can be one of those things that you don’t notice you’ve eaten too much of until it’s too late. After trick-or-treating, set boundaries with the kids and let them know that these treats are going to act as rewards for things like chores, good grades, or great manners. Not only does this help teeth, but it prevents less empty calories. Not to mention, you may have a spotless house and straight A’s in no time!
5. Brush, floss, and drink water!
This should be the easiest one, but it’s most often the one that’s overlooked. Make sure that everyone is on a brushing and flossing on a routine basis. The bacteria on your teeth mix with the sugars in the candy to form a mild acid. If this plaque isn’t removed every day by brushing and flossing, the enamel becomes softer and softer, and a cavity will form. If you’re having a mid-day treat, make sure to drink water after eating the sugary item. That will wash some of the sugars and acids away.
Halloween is certainly a time of fun, and should be for you and the kids. However, the importance of your dental health cannot be forgotten. If you’re experiencing any sort of pain, or would like more tips on how to keep your smile healthy, contact East Village Dental today!