October 31st means two things; dressing up in a funny costume and gathering as much candy as possible during that brief window of opportunity.
It’s unlikely your kids will be going door-to-door collecting carrot sticks and toothbrushes on the big night, so let’s be real here.
Parents and caregivers need an action plan – one that will mitigate the cavity causing sugar consumption without spoiling all the fun.
As parents (and dentists) we don’t want:
- Excitement heavily fueled by sugar
- Teeth coated with sticky candy
- Unhappy, disappointed children too tired to brush their teeth before bed after a night of candy jackpot.
We should keep our expectations realistic – after all it is Halloween. But we can set some parameters.
- Eat a nutritious meal before trick or treating. Excited children may not have much of an appetite however they do want to get going so you have the advantage! Vegetable sticks, cheese cubes or strings, yogurt, a slice of pizza. Tasty, nutritious, kid friendly, and inclusive of dairy, which can neutralize some of the sugar in a child’s mouth and provides calcium!
- A full tummy may reduce the urge to eat as much candy.
- Offer water – not juice or any other sugary drink. Water washes away sugar.
- Stick to the rule of not eating candy until you return home. You will want to inspect your child’s treats for anything suspicious.
- Explain to children that certain sweets like toffee, gummies, and lollipops are especially bad for their teeth. Offer to trade the worst offenders for a book or small toy.
- Rationing candy consumption to a small treat AFTER a meal is a good idea. The best time to eat something sugary is with other foods.
- Supervise tooth brushing before bedtime. Tired kids may be less diligent after a night of candy jackpot.
However your family succeeds in slowing down the sugar consumption, it’s a good idea to schedule a check up with your dentist and your hygienist in the weeks following Halloween. Those early teeth are precious and deserve the best care possible.
Stay safe, have fun, and if you have any suggestions to add to our list, we would love to hear them!
Happy Halloween from Moss Healthcare Centre!