With Halloween almost at our doorstep– and with it, armloads of tooth-aching candy– many of us start to wonder: what are the oral hazards of Halloween (or other candy-rich holidays)? How does one get through this and other celebrations with oral health intact?
As we know, the sugar in candy directly contributes to dental cavities, and the sugar and fat in cavities contributes to systemic health problems as well. But we want to relax and have a little fun, too– right? Fortunately, Dr. Suess, your family dentist in Clackamas, Oregon, has solutions for how each member of your family can sail through your holiday smiling and unscathed!
A lot of parental stressors on Halloween revolve around striking that tenuous balance between allowing your child to enjoy the fun, adventure, and treats that come with Halloween– and helping him or her to stay healthy. At Clackamas Smiles, we suggest a creative compromise.
- Create a treat schedule with your child. For instance, they can binge on candy during and after trick-or-treating, but then throw the rest away. Or, they may have one piece per day after dinner. Then help them stick to it!
- Create some alternatives. While your child is getting into her costume on the big night, or when her friends come over to carve pumpkins– offer halloween snacks that are both spooky and healthy. Check out some great ideas on Pinterest, and Parenting.com.
- Create… chocolate. Or just buy it. When it comes to candy, chocolate is your best option because it melts and gets swallowed, rather than “sticking” around on teeth and continuing to feed bacteria after the candy is enjoyed. Buy chocolate candies to hand out and trade with your kids for their “less healthy” candy after they’ve collected their own loot.
For the office
Halloween is not just for kids. While grownups may prefer a glass of spiked Halloween punch to a fistful of gummy worms, watching out for oral health is still a real issue for Halloweeners of all ages (especially when everyone brings their extra Halloween candy to the office on Nov. 1). Clackamas Smiles suggests:
- Avoid office candy. Remember, everyone’s just trying to get rid of it so they don’t eat it. If having candy around is a problem, maybe consider an office policy that limits the amount of treats that come in.
- Alternative treats are your friend. For the halloween parties or snacks at the office, bring a ghoulish treat with a healthy bent– again, there are some great ideas on Pinterest.
- Don’t forget to brush. With more sugar around, regular oral hygiene becomes critical. If you don’t already, bring a toothbrush and floss to work so you can clean your teeth after lunch, snacks, or indulging in a treat.
Kids probably have the most fun– and the biggest jobs, when if comes to oral health– on Halloween. That’s because this holiday is a learning opportunity in disguise. Clackamas Smiles thinks kids should have fun on Halloween, and while doing so, learn about oral health:
- Ask questions or read about how cavities are caused by sugar intake
- Practice strong oral hygiene habits, like brushing and flossing after each meal. Remember that it’s especially important to clean your teeth after indulging in candy!
- Create your own candy schedule with your parents and stick to it. This isn’t just a good idea for Halloween candy– it’s good practice for a lifetime of making healthy decisions.
Anymore ideas on how to make Halloween healthy?
Please share your healthy Halloween ideas with us at your next appointment! The whole team at Clackamas Smiles wishes you a safe, fun and healthy Halloween, and we look forward to hearing all about it the next time you visit your favorite dentist in Clackamas.