Not All Candy is Created Equally

You know that candy isn’t good for your child, but did you know that some candy choices are worse than others?

It’s possible to be strategic this Halloween so that your youngsters can enjoy their Trick or Treat sweets without giving themselves cavities.

Here’s what you should know to enjoy a spooky and safe Halloween with your kids!

Choosing the “Best” Candy For Your Children

If you can choose between broccoli or a Twix Bar, the best selection is obvious. But on Halloween night when your children are eager to dig into their candy bag, help them stick to a safer treat like chocolate.

Chocolate washes off the teeth much easier than stickier types of candy. Dark chocolate is even better because it contains less sugar.

Of course, this isn’t an invitation to gobble down a pound of chocolate.

The Worst of the Worst

Most other Halloween sweets are your mouth’s worst enemy.

Sticky and gummy candies, for example, are very difficult to remove from your child’s teeth, even if he brushes. Cavity-causing sugar and bacteria cling to the teeth and hide in tiny crevices, where they can cause major damage.

Hard candy is also a dangerous choice because it can break or crack the teeth. Or, just as bad, bacteria has too much time to cause harm as your child sucks on a hard candy and the sugars linger.

Sour candy is an equally bad choice. Sour candy is acidic, and that acid weakens and attacks the white enamel that protects the teeth. Too much sour candy, especially without continual brushing and flossing, makes teeth vulnerable to cavities.

How to Protect Your Child’s Teeth From Sugar Damage

Halloween can be fun and memorable without threatening your child’s healthy smile. Use these tips to protect your child’s teeth from sugar damage around Halloween and all the way through the holiday season.

Monitor Brushing and Reinforce Good Habits

Halloween candy can’t cause extensive harm to your child’s mouth if he brushes and flosses regularly. Make morning and evening brushing a core part of your routine, especially when traces of Halloween candy are lingering.

Though the role you play in your child’s brushing habits will decrease over time, it’s never too early to begin:

  • Even before your baby has teeth, use a baby toothbrush to gently brush his gums

  • As soon as teeth appear, brush your toddler’s teeth twice a day

  • By age two, include use of a fluoride toothpaste to prevent cavities and protect teeth from decay

  • As your child grows, keep him engaged in brushing with musical toothbrushes, reward charts, and steady routines

And don’t forget about flossing! This often overlooked component of oral health is essential to remove plaque from between the teeth. Aim to help your child floss once a day. Once the routine is established, he won’t think twice about it.

Make Beverage Rules

Candy isn’t the only Halloween treat with the power to cause cavities and decay.

Consider these quick tips to make sure beverages don’t compromise your child’s dental health:

  • Never put your child down to sleep with a bottle of juice, formula, or milk

  • Limit juice to mealtimes so that food and saliva can wash it away

  • Stick to water in between meals

  • Say no to soda, period

Don’t be fooled by “healthy” juices like apple juice and orange juice. While they do have some nutritional value, they’re inevitably loaded with sugar that eats away at healthy tooth enamel and makes your child more vulnerable to cavities. Water is always the very best choice since it clears the mouth of sugar, keeps your child hydrated, and improves body functions.

Balance Halloween Treats With Smile-Friendly Foods

You don’t have to ruin your child’s Halloween fun, but it’s still possible to make dental health a priority. Try to balance sweet treats with healthier options that are easy to stock in the fridge:

  • Crunchy foods like apples, carrots, cucumbers, and celery. These stimulate the production of saliva to neutralize bacteria and wash away sugar and acid. 

  • Vitamin-rich foods like oranges, broccoli, strawberries, fish, and eggs

  • Dairy options like yogurt, cheese, and milk contain high levels of calcium to strengthen enamel

  • Lean meats are high in phosphorus, which helps calcium build and protect enamel

The minerals and nutrients in these healthy foods can even counteract the action of acid and bacteria to protect your child’s teeth.

Ask For Dental Sealants

Be proactive about Halloween this year! If you’re worried that your child’s teeth are vulnerable to decay, ask your dentist to place sealants on your child’s teeth.

Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings applied to the back molars. Since most food is chewed with the back molars, sealants cover those chewing surfaces and make it difficult for sugar, bacteria, and small food pieces to sneak into the tiny cracks and crevices of the molars. You can think of sealants like tight, durable raincoats that keep the teeth protected from oral debris.

Believe it or not, this simple layer of dental plastic is proven to reduce the risk of decay up to 80% in back molars. Sealants offer one of the quickest and easiest ways to neutralize the threat of Halloween candy and enjoy a safe and festive holiday.

Even in moments when it seems difficult, remember that your efforts can help to prevent your child from experiencing the pain, suffering, and embarrassment caused by poor oral health.

Make an appointment with the team at All Smiles Children’s Dentistry now for your child’s next dental checkup. Our kind, compassionate team makes it a priority to help every child feel comfortable and safe in the dentist’s chair. Call (760) 734-4400 to schedule an appointment now.

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