Caring For Your Children’s Teeth During Halloween

Halloween Candy

The first autumn leaf has fallen, and the first pumpkin spice latte of the season has been served, which means that Halloween is just around the corner! 

Halloween brings sugar and high-fructose corn syrup galore. All these sweets can play some major tricks on your child’s teeth. 

Cavities are caused by acidic bacteria in the mouth that feed on carbohydrates (including many trick or treats). However, cavities take awhile to form, so this is not necessarily just caused by Halloween activity. Learn more about good back-to-school dental care habits

Our blog post can help parents take a proactive approach to helping their children maintain proper oral hygiene through this holiday. 

Set ground rules for candy consumption as soon as possible 

The great candy giveaway isn’t just restricted to the evening of October 31st - between school and social activities, the weeks before can be just as Kit-Kat driven as Halloween itself. 

Lay down ground rules with your children before the first piece of candy makes its way into their hands. Let them know you’ll be putting all their candy together in a basket, and they may have a piece when they complete a chore or finish their homework. 

Have a plan for Halloween night 

Serve a large dinner (maybe consider making their favorite meal, or a fun Halloween-themed spread) so that they’ll head out for trick or treating on a full stomach and be less tempted to eat a large amount of candy in one sitting when they return home. 

Steer clear of sticky candies

Some candies are worse for tooth decay than others, with gummies, caramels, taffy, Skittles, Airheads and licorice being some of the stickiest offenders. When these candies stay on the teeth longer than their melty cousins (think Reese’s Cups), they have more time to cause tooth decay. 

Save the M&Ms for mealtimes

When your child eats a meal, they produce more saliva. This can help counteract the acids produced by mouth bacteria. It also helps to rinse away food particles. 

Follow up meals with toothbrush time 

Brushing soon after sweet treats are consumed is a good way to minimize the odds of tooth decay. At night, brushing and flossing before bed can help sweep away recently devoured candy. 

A good tip is to wait 30 minutes before brushing after eating. Some acidic foods (looking at you, Sour Patch Kids) can soften the tooth enamel, so if you brush right after eating them, you can risk hurting your enamel further while it’s still sensitive.

If you come across any Halloween-themed toothbrushes or accessories, that can make brushing around this time of year especially motivating. Put a little fun into it with this Halloween Tooth Brush Song

Find a Halloween candy buyback program

Some nonprofit organizations, like Operation Gratitude, collect candy to send to deployed troops. They also distribute candy to local military units, veterans and first responders. As Halloween approaches, keep an eye out for candy buyback programs that will help you minimize the amount of candy in your home. 

If there aren’t candy buyback programs near you, you can also do your own at home - let your kids make their own decision to exchange their Halloween candy for a toy. 

Stay up to date on exams 

Post-Halloween is coincidentally a great time for a dental cleaning. We specialize in family dentistry and take on patients as young as two years old. 

We would be glad to serve your family. Contact us today to set up an appointment. 

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