It’s always exciting for us to talk with our patients about their upcoming holiday plans. That’s no different for Halloween! We’ve even seen a few kiddos show up to our dentist office in costume. Even though some people are surprised that we like Halloween with all the sweets, we don’t think your family has to ban candy to enjoy the spooky night. Still, there are a few ways to keep your family’s smiles a bit healthier – and they can apply beyond Halloween.
Take a few minutes to look at some healthy Halloween treats for your family or even your trick-or-treaters below. For more tooth tips or to set up post-Halloween cleanings for your children in Cave Creek, call Dr. Russell Roderick’s office at 480-420-9562 today. We see kids as young as 3.
Avoid These Tooth Terrors
It’s nearly impossible to ban all sweets from your kids, especially as they get older. However, there are a few that can make your kiddos’ teeth more cavity prone. In the short term, they can do a lot of damage too – even cause dental emergencies. That’s not a great way to spend Halloween! Trust us when we say we’ve seen quite a few urgent situations from the following unhealthy treats, from cracked teeth to loose fillings.
- Hard candy, especially jawbreakers
- Sticky candy, like caramels and gum
- Chewy candy, like fruit chews
- Sour candy, like sour gummies
It’s probably obvious why hard candy can create a problem, even for baby teeth that set the stage for adult teeth. Sticky, chewy candy can cause restorations to come loose, but the more common problem with those is that the sugar sits on teeth and in between teeth for a long time. It’s hard to get off even if you drink water afterward.
We know kids aren’t the best at brushing and flossing their teeth, especially in the grooves in back teeth where those sugars stick. Bacteria feed off the sugars and create acids that eat through tooth enamel. So enough of that buildup can lead to cavities. Add acid to the mix, and you create an even more ideal scenario for tooth decay.
Minimize These Tricky Temptations
Sugar is a culprit for tooth decay, but so are carbohydrates. They’re also notorious for getting stuck between teeth. Still, carb-heavy foods can be less of a problem than sugar simply because they contain less sugar.
When you’re looking at your kids’ candy bags or picking up treats for trick-or-treaters, consider these better options:
- Individual pretzels
- Individual crackers, including cheese crackers and peanut butter crackers
- Individual multigrain chips
- Fruit leather
- Raisins and other dried fruits
- Snack-size popcorn
- Individualized trail mix (careful for tots and kids with allergies, of course)
- Chocolate-covered nuts
- Yogurt-covered nuts and raisins
- Milk chocolate and chocolate peanut butter cups
- 100% juice boxes
It may help to think about what you pack in your kids’ lunchboxes or what you buy them for snacks each day. Chances are these could be good Halloween treats to pass out or let your kids enjoy in moderation.
Enjoy These Halloween Snacks & Treats
It’s tricky to think of healthy Halloween treats that don’t affect your kids’ oral health. Still, there are a few great choices, like:
- Dark chocolate
- Sugarless gum
- Snack-size nuts (if no allergies)
- Small apples
- Individualized peanut butter packs
Treats don’t have to come in the form of sugar or even food, though. If you’re shopping for candy soon, consider these alternatives to Halloween candy, many of which can be purchased at dollar stores or discount stores:
- Small toys
- Mini puzzles and games
- Jewelry, especially glow jewelry, light-up jewelry, and Halloween-themed jewelry like spider rings
- Glow sticks
- Packs of cards or card games
- Mini Play-Doh packs
- Pencils and erasers
- Activity books or mini drawing pads
- Halloween temporary tattoos
Discuss Oral Health Habits Early
Like any parent, you want your kids to be healthy and happy. When it comes to their smile, you know this includes brushing, flossing, and regular checkups. It also includes instilling healthy habits so that your children can learn to make good decisions on their own.
Consider this before you help your kids sort through their Halloween candy:
- Start talking about better choices for their smiles now. Take a fun approach for your little ones, like the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry does with their tips and tricks. You can even print off Halloween coloring sheets from their site that can help teach your kids about tooth decay.
- Donate or get rid of tooth-terror candies. If you don’t, consider limiting them to once a day.
- Set a time limit on how long Halloween candy will stay in your house.
- Make sure your kids brush twice a day and floss daily.
- Encourage them to swish water in their mouth after eating candy to help get it off their teeth and gums.
Your Cave Creek, AZ family dental office hopes you enjoy this Halloween – and that your smiles do too! If you need any more tooth tips, nutrition tips, or just appointments for cleanings, call Aesthetic Family Dentistry at 480-420-9562 or contact us online.