Halloween is just around the corner, and your children are probably starting to get excited about their costumes and a night of spooky fun. But, with trick-or-treating and all the candy that gets consumed on October 31, it’s the treats that can be really scary. Now is the perfect time to review the effect of sugars on your child’s teeth and make a plan for how to keep their teeth healthy year round.
Effects of Candy
The natural bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars, converting them to acid, which leads to decay and cavities. But, one night of indulgence in candy treats isn’t going to give your child an instant cavity, although you might want to watch out for the sugar rush. The real problem is prolonged, continued exposure to sugars, and there are some easy ways to avoid this.
Some Candy Is Better Than Others
Candy that is sticky such as caramels, taffy, and gummy fruits can more easily get caught on a tooth, making it more likely that damaging acids will be produced in close contact to enamel. Additionally, sour candies that feature citric acid are more likely to cause problems. The best solution for Halloween night, or any time you let your child consume candy is to give them a small amount of something that they will eat quickly, while also being less likely to get caught in the cracks and crevices of their mouths.
For their added protection, have them eat a good, healthy meal beforehand so they are less likely to fill up on the sugars. Also have them drink a full glass of water and go perform a thorough teeth brushing immediately after. These practices should be in place not just for trick-or-treating, but any time they will be consuming sugary foods. Of course, the best solution to avoiding the problems caused by sugar is to limit them all together—make sure your children have access to healthy snacks as well.
When your child comes in from trick-or-treating, it is a good idea to ration out the amount of candy they can consume in one sitting. Don’t let them go after their entire haul that night. But, more importantly, every day of the year is an opportunity to try and get them interested in delicious, healthy snacks that won’t lead to the problems of candy. Ready-to-eat veggies and fruits that are already sliced, along with lo-fat string cheese and yogurts, are all great snacks that kids love to eat. By encouraging them to reach for these healthier options year-round, it will make holidays like Halloween even more special.