Frights and Bites: Keeping Cavities Away This Halloween

gummi bear teeth

Halloween is an evening of spooks, screams, and scares — and also sugar. Consider the following tips to keep your family’s oral health in check this challenging time of the year.

SOME CANDY IS WORSE THAN OTHERS

Whether filling up your candy stock before Halloween night arrives or sifting through the night’s haul after your children arrive safely home, wise parents keep in mind which candies have the potential to do the most damage:

CHEWY AND STICKY CANDIES

Candies made from taffy, molasses, and caramel may be fun to chomp on but they’re known for staying well past their welcome in the corners and crevices of a child’s mouth. They creep into gums and cling between teeth where it can be difficult to floss.

SOUR SWEETS

The highly acidic nature of these treats can easily erode tooth enamel. Limit the amount of sour candies you keep around, and make sure your kids brush their teeth after eating them—but no sooner than 30 minutes afterwards. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, brushing too soon can spread the acidic components onto every surface of the mouth.

PRACTICE HEALTHY HABITS

If you want to keep from being seen as a monster for the next 364 days of the year, follow these three easy tips to stay in good stead with your children.

  1. Ration the candy over time. Keep the candy in a safe, out-of-kids’-reach space. Give them an extra-sized portion on Halloween night, and then over the next few days, set a daily limit or give out candy as a reward.
  2. Treat time. WebMD recommends setting a “treat time” where children get their candy each day (or evening). This gives them something to look forward to and sets an optimal time for a teeth-brushing schedule. Providing them with this discipline also keeps them from being distracted at other times during the day.
    According to the American Dental Association, this time should either be during meals or immediately after them. The saliva churned up during mealtime is especially beneficial in clearing out harmful acids.
  3. Drink your water. Encourage your family to drink plenty of water, and as always, keep on top of brushing and flossing practices. Maintain a healthy diet, and be certain to still visit the dentist and his or her dental assistant as you regularly would.

Healthy habits and a little bit of discipline are the key to a happy Halloween.

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