Ask Dr. Ted – Assure A Smile
We love dreaming up new healthy ways for families to enjoy Halloween. But let’s face it. Candy is part of the season. Kids are encouraged to trick or treat at school, at local community events, and then door-to-door. It can be great fun. However, if you’re not careful, your child might eat their own weight in candy (not fun). Too much candy can be a nightmare for your child’s dental health.
There are smarter ways to celebrate, and you don’t have to ban trick-or-treating for your kids
Here are our tips for navigating the frightful Halloween season:
Bad Versus Better Candy. The worst candies are sticky and gummy varieties because they are harder to clean away from teeth. Also, be careful with hard candies as they can actually break a tooth. Chocolate, and in particular dark chocolate, can be a safer choice. In addition, there are several nut and fruit bars on the market which are lower in sugar than most candy. Just be sure to check the ingredients on the label. Avoid extra sugar, overly processed foods, and chemicals.
Healthy Snack Choices. The bacteria in our mouths consume the sugar in sweet treats and release acid, which can lead to tooth decay. A small amount of candy at Halloween may be fine, but there are many smart alternatives – fresh fruit likes apples and oranges, nuts, and veggies like carrots or sugar snap peas. Halloween is also a great time to prepare healthy treats with your kids. For example, try devilishly decorated deviled eggs, blood orange punch, pumpkin pancakes, or healthy Halloween cookies.
Brushing and Flossing. Halloween provides an opportunity to remind kids about the importance of brushing and flossing. The goal is to minimize damage to teeth that can be caused by sugar. If your kids eat candy, be sure that they brush and floss to remove any buildup of food particles and sugar from their teeth and gums. Our year-round advice is to brush twice daily and floss once daily. Teach your kids these habits to help avoid future cavities and gum disease.
Switch-Witchery. The Switch Witch is similar to the Tooth Fairy but for Halloween. It works like this: After all the trick-or-treating is done (and your kids have enjoyed some of their candy,) everyone gets ready for a visit from the Switch Witch. The friendly Witch pays a visit after bedtime and switches out bags of candy for a prize. The more candy a kid sets aside for the Witch, the better their prize will be. Be sure to tell your kids the story of the Switch Witch before Halloween so that they look forward to her arrival.
Our final bit of advice is to have fun, be safe, and be healthy. Oh, and say hello to the Switch Witch if you see her.
Dr. Ted Herrmann and Assure A Smile have served South Florida for over 30 years, helping to guide patients to better oral health for life. We are a family friendly dentist, offering a full range of quality dental care, such as routine cleanings, crowns, Invisalign clear braces and more. We encourage a unique holistic approach to healthy teeth and gums. We invite you to call us today and schedule an appointment.