How to Avoid the “Sugar Wars” of Halloween
Halloween is all about costumes and treats, and fun. But when those trick-or-treat bags come home, often the “sugar wars” begin. All that candy to be eaten! How do parents set limits? Is it OK to let the kids splurge on their collected loot? Children’s dental care is on the minds of us all at this time of year.
The risks of sugar to dental health are real but some sugar isn’t bad. With some careful monitoring, it’s possible to avoid the “sugar wars” of Halloween and let your children enjoy their bounty without increasing their risk of cavities. Here are some things you can do:
When you sort through the trick-or-treat bags, be selective. Some of those popular candies can do more damage to the teeth than others.
- For example, candies that are gummy or sticky are the worst. They stick to the teeth and give that cavity-causing bacteria more time to work.
- Avoid hard candy and other sweets that stay in your mouth for a long time.
- On the other hand, chocolate is one of the best because it washes off the teeth more quickly than other types.
Select the Favorites and Share the Rest
You can limit the supply. One tried and true strategy that lets parents avoid the “sugar wars” is to instruct your kids to pick out a limited number of their favorite candies. Donate the rest to organizations that collect treats for children’s groups. Your kids will feel good about sharing with others.
It Matters When They Eat It
- The best time for kids to eat their candy is with a meal, as dessert. Saliva production increases during meals and helps to cancel out acids produced by bacteria in the mouth.
- The worst way to eat candy is by snacking throughout the day. Better to have a formal snack time. Make sure they brush and floss afterward. It’s a perfect time to introduce new toothbrushes for them to try out!
Halloween might feel like a holiday created for battles between parents and children, but it is actually a great time to teach your kids about how to prevent cavities and about making healthy choices. Use it as a teachable moment to help your child learn about moderation and dental care.
Remember, beautiful teeth are healthy teeth!
Dr. Nishan Halim
Nishan Halim, DMD specializes in family and comprehensive dentistry, which is at the heart of this Capitol Hill, Washington DC neighborhood dental center. He is committed to helping all his patients maintain a healthy smile. To find out more, schedule an appointment at your convenience.