Halloween is a fun time of year when kids and teens can dress up in costumes and make memories that will last a lifetime. And while the autumn holiday is known for many things like silly and scary costumes, horror movies, haunted houses, and more, perhaps the most popular part of Halloween is the candy.
Sweets are a quintessential part of the Halloween and trick-or-treating experience for children, and it’s the main thing that most kids look forward to the most. And while there’s nothing wrong with indulging in some sweet treats on Halloween night, too much candy can have a prolonged, negative effect on your child’s teeth and dental health. Below, see some ways our specialists at Palm Valley Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics recommend approaching the sugar-coated holiday and making sure your child’s dental health doesn’t suffer as a result of high candy consumption.
Make sure your child brushes and flosses
One of the easiest ways to combat any dental issues from Halloween candy is to make sure your child thoroughly brushes their teeth before bed and the next morning. Although it seems like a no-brainer, since everyone should brush twice a day every day, sometimes at the end of a long night of trick-or-treating your child might not be inclined to brush or floss before going to sleep. Making sure they do will help protect against dental scares or prolonged effects from sugar.
Cut down on other sugar sources
Since your child will be enjoying lots of candy and sweets on Halloween, it’s a good idea to cut out other sources of sugar in the days around and on Halloween, such as soda, juices or other desserts. This will lower the risk of dental problems arising from too much sugar. Ensuring your child is also drinking plenty of water is also helpful, as it’s not only healthy but can assist in preventing tooth decay. While your child is enjoying all the Halloween sweets, make sure they have a full glass of water with them, too.
Additionally, stickier candies like gummies and taffy can cause problems, since, given the type of candy and stickiness, they attach to teeth and the sugar stays on longer, increasing the risk of cavities and tooth decay. Going with other types of candy that can be consumed more quickly is always a good idea when it comes to preventing dental issues.
Beware of cavities
Cavities remain one of the most common dental issues among children, and are commonly associated with sugar. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 20 percent of children ages five to 11 will experience a cavity. And if your child is consuming a large volume of sweets on or around Halloween, it could be more likely they’ll develop a cavity that will land them in a dentist’s chair for a filling. Getting a checkup prior to Halloween will help inform you of how much candy your child should have based on the state of their teeth, and a cleaning after will help ensure the sugar won’t have a prolonged effect. Regular checkups and cleanings help combat cavities and tooth decay and keep your child’s teeth clean and healthy and less likely to form a troublesome cavity.
Schedule a checkup or cleaning
Want to bring your child in before Halloween for a checkup, or looking to have them get their teeth cleaned after Halloween? Our pediatric dentists at Palm Valley Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics provide both primary and comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral health care for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health care needs. No matter what your age your child is, or how much candy they’ve had, we have the expertise needed to provide excellent consultation and care. Check out the services we provide here to find out more on how we can help ensure your child has a healthy, problem-free Halloween!
Halloween candy buyback: Control the sugar intake and give back
So with all that candy collected on Halloween night, how can you help manage your child’s sugar intake while still allowing them to enjoy the result of their trick-or-treating? Our specialists at Palm Valley Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics recommend children eat all the candy they want on the night of Halloween, but on the next day bring the remaining sweets to donate to U.S. troops overseas, Operation Gratitude. Organizations such as Operation Gratitude accept Halloween candy donations, and not only will this practice help prevent too much sugar and dental issues, but it’s also a great lesson in giving back that you can instill in your children.