All kids want to get loads of Halloween candy when out trick-or-treating but, as a parent, you know that eating too much candy is not good for your child. Dr. Banks and other pediatric dentists believe Halloween is a good time to teach kids good oral health habits without depriving them of their Halloween goodies. Here are a few top tips and “tricks” you can try this Halloween season to ensure that your child has healthy teeth now and in the future.
Allow Your Kids to Enjoy Their Treats in Moderation
Halloween is the one holiday out of the whole year that is just for kiddos to enjoy. We encourage parents of our young patients not to deny children the fun experience of Halloween just because candy is a big part of it. If you take your kid’s candy away from them as soon as they get home from making the trick-or-treating rounds, it could lead to a BOO fest! They may try to sneak candy or eat too much at one time. A better idea: Let your kids have fun enjoying the goodies they collect (in moderation) as that’s part of the fun of going to parties or trick-or-treating.
When your kids come home after going door-to-door, sit down with them to go through their bag of Halloween candy together. Have them choose a few pieces (you decide how many) they’d like to eat at the time. Then, put the rest of the candy away and out of sight. Some parents choose to donate some of the candy to local charities and others freeze it. Consider these options if you don’t want to simply throw the candy away.
Halloween is a Good Time to Talk to Kids About Sweets and Their Teeth
The Halloween season is a great time to talk to your kids about candy and their teeth. Consider reminding your kids that eating too many sweets can lead them to cavities. Instead of saying that candy is “bad”, it’s better to tell your children that eating an excessive amount of candy and other sweet treats is simply not good for their teeth. Candy can lead to sugar bugs… and that really is spooky! Help your kids learn that what they eat affects their oral health and that they have control over their diet.
Set a Halloween Treat Time
Instead of allowing your children to dig into their Halloween treats whenever they wish, set a “treat time” to teach kids that sweets should be eaten in moderation. And, when children know they have a specific time they can enjoy their goodies, they’re less likely to think about eating candy at other times during the day.
It’s also important to remind your children to brush and floss their teeth after eating candy. If your child is under the age of 8, you need to help brush their teeth. After age 8, parents should still supervise their kids when brushing to be sure they’re doing a good job. If you make tooth brushing time a fun time for your child, he or she will be more likely to be thorough. Allow your child to pick out his or her own toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
Dr. Banks and the KKD gang want our young patients to enjoy this fun time of the year! But we also want our patients to learn how to care for their teeth so they have smiles they can be proud of for the rest of their lives. Have a spooktackular Halloween!