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31 Oct

Oral Care Tips for Halloween

 

From trick-or-treating and school parties to harvest festivals and gifts from relatives, Halloween activities revolve around the candy. During this holiday season, it might feel impossible to keep your kids away from the sweets. Use these tips to limit candy consumption, help prevent tooth decay, and keep your kid’s teeth healthy and happy.

What Halloween Candy is Good for Teeth?

Any candy that contains sugar will feed the plaque development that leads to tooth decay. A better question to ask would be: What Halloween candy is the worst for teeth?

  • Hard candy. You might think sticky candy would harm teeth most, but actually, hard candy like lollipops and peppermints cause the most dental damage. These harder treats linger in your mouth longer, putting your teeth at risk for prolonged acid attacks, which lead to tooth decay. Plus, they can also trigger a dental emergency such as a broken or chipped tooth.
  • Chewing gum. Surprisingly, one of the safest Halloween treats to enjoy is gum. Gum stimulates extra saliva production, which naturally rinses the mouth and keeps plaque-causing bacteria at bay. Choose sugar-free, all-natural gum that’s sweetened with fruit juices.

How Do You Protect Your Child’s Teeth During Halloween?

Though candy is plentiful, you don’t have to let the threat of tummy aches and cavities ruin Halloween. With some extra diligence and a few ground rules, you can make the holiday fun and healthy for the whole family.

  • Inspect the loot. When your child returns from trick-or-treating or a Halloween party, make sure you get a first look at the haul. Give them a piece or two to enjoy while you check their bag for tampered wrappers, potential allergens, or choking hazards.
  • Propose a trade. If your child collected more candy than they’ll ever be able to eat, offer to make a few trades. Let the child use the candy to “buy” other items, such as movie tickets or a new toy. You might even have some smaller items available on Halloween night to help take the attention off the giant bag of candy.
  • Prioritize oral health. Be extra diligent about oral care during the Halloween season. Help your child correctly brush their teeth at the end of each day to remove sugary build-up. Also, floss their teeth once a day to remove any candy debris that might be stuck between teeth.

What Are Some Alternatives to Halloween Candy?

Whether you’re stocking up for trick-or-treaters or looking for healthier ideas for your child’s Halloween party, check out these candy alternatives for this favorite fall holiday.

What to Hand Out Instead of Halloween Candy

  • Fruits and veggies. Many grocery stores sell fruit and vegetables in individually-wrapped snack packs. Check your produce aisle for treat-sized bags of baby carrots and apple slices to encourage dental health and provide a break from a bag of syrupy sweet candy.
  • Dairy products. The dairy aisle holds more pre-packaged treats that go easy on the teeth. Individual yogurt tubes come in a variety of flavors and provide essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin D. You can also try cheese sticks, which are sure to be a favorite for hungry ghosts and goblins. Or quench a young vampire’s thirst with drink boxes of organic chocolate milk.

What to Serve at a Party Instead of Halloween Treats

  • Monster mouths. Skip the wax lips in favor of healthy — and arguably better-tasting — monster mouths made from apples. Slice an unpeeled apple into large wedges, then cut a groove into the center of the wedge’s peel-side to create an opening for the mouth. Stuff the groove with peanut or almond butter and top with chopped peanuts or almond slivers to look like crooked teeth poking out.
  • Vegetable skeleton. Make a boring veggie platter spooktacular by arranging the vegetables in the shape of a skeleton. Use celery stalks and carrot sticks for the legs and arms, cucumber slices for the spine, and bell pepper slices for the rib cage. Cauliflower florets create a skull on top with broccoli for eye sockets and bell pepper strips for the mouth. For the finishing touch, add a carved out pumpkin on the side filled with a healthy dip.
  • Orange pumpkins and banana ghosts. Quickly turn your favorite fruits into festive snacks. Simply peel oranges or clementines and add a small slice of celery on top for the pumpkin stalk. Then, peel and slice bananas in half and use three chocolate chips to create two eyes and a mouth for a spooky ghost.

Halloween is a great time to promote oral health in your family and throughout the community. Whether you are limiting candy consumption in your own home or sharing nutritious, teeth-healthy snacks with friends and neighbors, you can help develop healthy habits while still enjoying the spirit of the holiday.

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