Trick-or-treating is a fun tradition for children, but it can wreak havoc on teeth in both kids and adults (did you know that it’s proven that adults eat at least a quarter of their kids’ Halloween candy!).
With a little foresight and preparation, you can make this year’s Halloween healthier on you and your child’s teeth.
Here are five tips for a tooth-friendly Halloween:
- Consider handing out something other than candy at your house.
Kids will gather plenty of candy from school parties and your neighbors, and many trick-or-treaters would be glad to see something different at your door. Suggested ideas: quarters or dimes (for older children), pencils, toothbrushes, Halloween toys, spider rings, mini bottles of bubbles, bracelets, tattoos, stickers, Slinkys or glow sticks. Steer clear of small toys that could be a choking hazard to young children (such as bouncy balls).
- Plan how you will limit your child’s candy intake on Halloween.
Dr. Hinze said to start digging a hole now! When his kids were young, he would let them eat a good share of Halloween candy on Halloween night. After the kids went to sleep that night, Dr. Hinze said much of the candy would then disappear (into the trash!).
Another idea is to portion out candy into smaller bags to be eaten in moderation over the coming weeks (or months, depending on how much candy they acquired!).
Be sure to eat candy in moderation yourself to set a good example for the kids.
- Check your child’s candy stash for safety.
While you are perusing your child’s candy to take out all the good stuff for yourself, be sure to look for any unwrapped or spoiled candy and toss it right away. Also, take out any candy that could be a choking hazard for young children. Be wary of candy that could cause teeth breakage (Gobstoppers and other hard candies).
- Stock up on teeth brushing supplies.
Be sure each child has a good quality toothbrush (preferably soft-bristled) and enough toothpaste to brush well all day on Halloween and the day after. Encourage children (and yourself) to at least rinse the mouth with water if you aren’t able to brush right away after eating sweets. And, don’t forget about flossing to get that candy out from between the teeth.
- Celebrate National Tooth Brushing Day on Nov. 1.
Commit with your children to brush for two minutes at least twice a day and show them how to brush their teeth and tongue.
If you haven’t already, schedule your child’s next dental cleaning and exam. It is recommended that children see their dentist at least twice a year (every six months). Call us today at (308) 995-5331 to schedule your appointment.