This Halloween, use your creativity to offer Halloween treats and fun for the kids that won’t cause unwanted sugar highs and crashes or allergy concerns, and just might help to keep their smile cavity-free too. Instead of grabbing the usual assortment of sugary candies, consider planning to help the little ones enjoy the day with items that will help them have a healthier holiday celebration.
Before trick-or-treating or a spooky holiday get-together, make sure that everyone has a good meal and plenty of water. Eating a meal will leave them less hungry for the sweet treats and water can help to avoid dehydration during the fun. In addition, saliva helps to break down food particles and wash away harmful bacteria in the mouth, and saliva production is highest right after eating a meal.
Although it may be difficult to avoid sweets entirely, both offering and indulging in them is better in moderation and some treats are certainly better choices than others. The longer that the candy remains stuck on the teeth, the greater the risk for cavities. Caramels, gummy candies, taffy and other sticky treats often get stuck in the uneven surfaces and grooves of teeth. Hard candies and lollipops are riskier choices due to the length of time they are held in the mouth, exposing teeth to sugars longer than candies that dissolve more quickly, such as chocolate. Lastly, sour treats can cause both enamel erosion due to their high acidic content and may also cause painful oral sores.
However, studies have shown that chewing sugar-free gum stimulates saliva production and may actually help to prevent cavities. Just remember to check with parents to ensure that children are old enough to chew gum before offering it. Offering small bottles of water can help wash away sugar too. Additionally, many stores offer individual snack with Halloween packaging such as pretzels, cheesy crackers, or other treats kids can enjoy with less sugar.
Alternatively, there are nearly unlimited choices and many that are wallet-friendly with a little help from dollar stores, in bulk, or the clearance tables. Among these are small, but fun trinkets or prizes including:
- Themed stickers or stamp pads
- Festive pencils and erasers
- Costume items like vampire teeth, pirate patches, or tattoos
- Glow sticks, glow-in-the-dark jewelry, or spider rings
- Bouncy balls and other small toys, puzzles or games
Of course, our personal favorite is a selection of novelty toothbrushes, including those in Halloween colors or with their favorite cartoon characters along with some fun, flavored fluoride toothpastes. Yet, no matter how you decide to help the little ones celebrate, make sure that you brush and floss your child’s teeth after eating their treats and before heading off to bed. Moreover, ensure your kids have their regularly scheduled cleaning and checkup at the dentist, as cavities and other issues can be spotted and treated before they worsen.
If you are interested in finding out more about terrific holiday dental health ideas for your children, Dr. Heidi Finkelstein and her caring staff at My Plantation Dentist can help. To schedule an appointment for your child’s examination, please contact us today at 954-584-1030.