Halloween is just around the corner, which means your children will soon be hauling bags of candy and sweets home after a night of trick or treating.
CARY, N.C. – Halloween is just around the corner, which means your children will soon be hauling bags of candy and sweets home after a night of trick or treating. As a parent, this popular holiday can present a challenge to your kids’ oral health. Candy and other empty calorie foods can be cause for concern, not only because they offer no nutritional value, but because the sugar they contain adheres to teeth and can cause tooth decay. The North Carolina Dental Society offers healthy ways to enjoy the holiday treats.
“Around Halloween, it’s especially important for parents to promote healthy eating and healthy mouths,” said Dr. Richard Brooks of Preston Corners Pediatric Dentistry in Cary. “Limiting your kids’ sugar intake and encouraging regular brushing and flossing are important for preventing long-term dental problems. Your kids can still enjoy trick-or-treating without a sugar overload.”
The North Carolina Dental Society offers five suggestions for ensuring a healthier Halloween:
- Avoid sticky situations. Choose candy carefully because sticky candies can cling to teeth. Taffy and gummy bears, for example, take longer to get washed away by saliva, increasing the risk for tooth decay. Candy that can be eaten more quickly, like chocolate, is a safer alternative for your kids’ teeth.
- Stick to sugar-free. Encourage your kids to enjoy sugar-free candies and gum when possible. Bacteria in the mouth feeds off of sugar which can lead to tooth decay.
- Time it right. Eat Halloween candy with meals or shortly after dinner. After meals, increased saliva cancels out acids produced by bacteria in your kids’ mouths and helps rinse away food particles.
- Drink more water. Drinking fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay while rinsing away food. It also helps your kids stay full, limiting cravings for sweets.
- Brush twice a day. Your kids should brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes, especially when they’re enjoying candy after dinner.
“One of the biggest challenges for parents around the holiday is determining what to do with excess candy. Check with your dentist to determine if he or she has a candy buyback program. You can get rid of extra treats lying around the house and your dentist will ultimately donate the sweets to local needy groups,” said Dr. Brooks.
Learn more about tips for a healthy Halloween at www.MouthHealthy.org.
About the North Carolina Dental Society
The North Carolina Dental Society was founded in 1856 and is one of the oldest dental societies in the country. The NCDS represents 3,700 member dentists in North Carolina. Headquartered in Cary, our mission is to help all members succeed. For more information about the NCDS, visit ncdental.org. The North Carolina Dental Society is a part of the American Dental Association, the nation's largest dental association, representing 158,000 dentist members.