As pediatric dentists, we would never tell kids to skip Halloween. But we would tell parents to be careful about how much candy your kids eat. As everyone knows, candy and sugar are highly linked to cavities and other oral issues. Now, of course, we don’t want any children to miss out on the fun, especially this year where things are very different. A lot of families are interested in alternative Halloween solutions due to safer at home policies. With some parents planning to buy their own candy for their children and hide it around the home, or find other creative solutions to traditional trick or treating, we want to remind everyone about the safest way to eat candy for your oral health.
If our kids had their way they would eat 20 lbs of chocolate in one sitting. And as tantalizing as that might sound, that would quickly lead to a stomach ache as well as cavities and gum disease. Our kids need help portioning their candy. Whether they collected an entire bucket full around the neighborhood or parents gifted them a family-size bag, it is important to help your kids eat the right amount of candy. Rationing candy over multiple days or even weeks has the added benefit of making Halloween treats last even longer. And although kids may not be excited about their candy limits at first they will be happy when they still have candy days later. As kids get older they can even learn the importance of moderation and saving through Halloween candy. Helping kids organize their candy into small portions can be an important lesson on the importance of saving and storing.
The main danger of Halloween candy is sugar. When sugar sits on our teeth it becomes plaque. Plaque can stay on the teeth even after vigorous brushing. In most cases, plaque will need to be removed by a dental hygienist. The best way to avoid this is to brush and floss quickly after eating candy. If you want your child to have a piece of candy or two after dinner, make sure that the order of operations goes dinner, candy, brushing, and not dinner, brushing, candy. Sugar sitting on the teeth overnight can greatly increase the risk of dental problems.
Like parents, dentists don’t want to be the bad guys. But it is important for our kids’ long term dental health that they do not overeat candy and that they take care of their teeth. There are ways to make organizing and saving candy fun. In fact, many kids enjoy still having a cache of candy after their friends’ candy piles have long run out. Beyond helping our kids protect their teeth there is an important lesson in the value of planning and saving that our kids can learn during the holiday season. For more information on pediatric dental health, please contact the team at All Pro Dental. And we hope every family has a safe and fun Halloween.