Halloween is right around the corner, which means your kids will soon be getting bags of candy from school, neighbors, the pumpkin patch…well just about everyone! And IT IS okay to enjoy candy at Halloween, the key is making sure you have a plan. Here are some helpful tips to navigate the Halloween candy onslaught and maybe even the upcoming holiday sweets overload.
First, we recommend that you come up with a framework of candy and sweets to avoid and those to enjoy. Stay away from candy that your child would be sucking on for a long period of time. The negative effects of candy can be seen from having increased exposure time to sugar, so let them enjoy chocolates that they pop in and chew quickly.
This brings us to our second tip: avoid those sticky candies. They can get stuck on the chewing surface or in between teeth and can be pretty hard to clean. We also recommend avoiding any candy that is sour as these candies are sprayed with acid. Acid is what bacteria produce to cause cavities so sticky sour candies are really a double whammy. Sorry Sour Patch Kid lovers!
Third, try to time when your kids will enjoy these sweets. Our saliva production helps to keep the mouth clean, so eating sweets with a meal or right after a meal decreases the likelihood that sugar will be sitting on the teeth for a long period of time. Sometimes serving a small amount of sweets with food can take candy off the pedestal and make it less of a power struggle with your younger kids. They are also less likely to eat very large quantities of candy if their tummies are already full!
Third, push the water! Increasing water intake can help rinse the sugar off your child’s teeth. This can be especially helpful if you fill that glass with fluoridated tap or bottled water. Fluoride rehardens areas where the calcium has been leeched out of the tooth due to exposure to acid.
Fourth, eat a healthy diet. This seems obvious but if your kids are eating lots of healthy fruits and veggies or dairy and meats at their regular snack and mealtimes then you can feel free to add in the sugary sweets after trick or treating.
Last, brush those teeth! I know you will…but sometimes after the excitement of holidays we are thrown off the routine. Set the expectations with your kids that you will be brushing and flossing really well before bed to help remove the potential for a sugar crash power struggle!
Most importantly: have fun and stay safe this Halloween!