Top Tricks and Treats for a Tooth-friendly Halloween

Most little monsters after trick-or-treatment would bring home a frightening bag of candy, so it’s not shocking that almost 1 in 5 Illinois parents say Halloween is one of the toughest times to get their kids to maintain good oral health habits. But don’t get afraid, DR. Meenu Giri, Family Dentistry provides some tips and top therapies for parents to keep the little teeth of children safe from sugar nightmares.

“Sugary products aren’t ideal for teeth, but some are better than others,” DR. Meenu Giri, Family Dentistry said. “Candy that easily melts and dissolves is less harmful to the teeth of children. Sweets that expose teeth to sugar longer give bacteria more time to feed and develop acid that causes cavity.

If there is an alternative, candy and gum sugar-free are obvious top choices. Also, chocolate without sticky fillings is a better choice than other sweets, particularly dark chocolate that is lower in sugar than milk or white chocolate. Chocolate dissolves rapidly and is not sticky, reducing the amount of time the chocolate stays in contact with teeth. Chewy and hard candies, such as caramels, gummies, jawbreakers and lollipops, are the worst remedies for teeth, because they are likely to spend longer time exposing teeth to sugar.

Along with choosing dark chocolate and sugar-free treats, DR. Meenu Giri, Family Dentistry offers these five tricks to make your Halloween tooth-friendly.

  1. Before trick-or-treat, prepare a nutritious and filling meal so children are less likely to snack on sweets.
  2. Limit the amount of chewy or hard sweets you eat. When necessary, delete from the stash of your kid the hard and chewy candies. Hard candies are hard on the teeth because for an extended period of time they appear to be sucked on at a leisurely pace. Chewy, sticky solutions are unhealthy because they are high in sugar, spend a long time sticking to the teeth and make it harder for saliva to release.
  3. Just offer meals to the sweets. Enjoying sweets with a meal is better because the production of saliva is growing and cavity-causing sugar and bacteria are washed away. Remember not to let kids snack on candy all day long.
  4. Have a regimen for oral health following diagnosis. Since eating candy to wash away sugar, children’s teeth should be cleaned or at least rinsed with water. Make sure your children’s teeth are brushed for two minutes each time at least twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste and flossed once a day. And daily visits should be taken to the dentist.

Give a treat that is not candy. Let children enjoy a treat or two and then trade for a toy in their remaining candy. Leftover treatments can be donated to troops or a buy-back program for local dentists. You might also consider distributing to neighborhood kids candy alternatives such as fruit, money or small toys.