During the holidays, especially Halloween, eating healthy is a challenge for everyone, but one aspect of health that is often forgotten amidst the holiday bustle is oral health. High sugar and carbohydrate foods combine with bacteria in the mouth to form acidic, tooth decaying, gum irritating plaque. There are very few holiday favorites that don’t fall into the category sugar or complex carbohydrates. As your kids gather bags of Halloween candy, take a look at the contents of their trick-or-treating loot, and help them make good choices for their oral health this Halloween.
4 Best Halloween Candies for Your Oral Health
- Gum – Chewing gum, especially sugar free varieties, can remove food particles stuck between teeth, and gum lasts longer meaning your child eats less candy.
- Chocolate – Chocolate dissolves quickly and doesn’t usually get stuck on teeth. Dark chocolates especially contain antioxidants that are good for overall health in addition to oral health. Avoid candies with caramel or toffee that can damage teeth. There’s good news for peanut butter cup lovers out there. Peanut butter and chocolate are actually a sweet but powerful team combining the protein in peanut butter with calcium and antioxidants in chocolate.
- Powdered Candy – Candies that are powdered typically dissolve very quickly, and when followed with a glass of water, have very little if any impact on oral health.
- Lollipops – Suckers and hard candies increase the production of acid neutralizing saliva. If you get sugar free lollipops, that’s even better.
Keep Kids Healthy During the Holidays
Candy, like anything else that’s “bad” for you, regardless of type, is perfectly fine in moderation. The key is to help your child make good choices about how much candy to consume, when to consume it, and how to maintain oral health after candy consumption. Here are some great tips to help you and your children stay happy and healthy this Halloween:
- Play the candy game – Have your child sort their candy based on their preferences. Give them one of their favorite treats when they do something great: bring home a good grade, clean up their rooms, etc. The better they behave, they can earn better candies. This helps kids develop an association with candy as a treat – not a food group.
- Set limits – If the candy game doesn’t work for your family, you should still set limits on how much and how often your child eats candy. Talk with your child and agree on a number of candies and a time of day they get to eat them.
- Drink water – Combining candy eating with sugary soda or acidic juices can be a dangerous double whammy. Drinking water increases the flow of acid neutralizing saliva, and washes away loose food particles and sugar left behind by candy.
- Brush and floss – With an increase of sugar in the diet, it’s more important than ever to ensure your child is brushing and flossing every day.
Find Our More from Your Dublin Children’s Dentist
If you’re interested in scheduling a teeth cleaning for your child after the holidays or want more information about keeping kids cavity free, call our Dublin dental team today. We look forward to helping you and your child achieve and maintain optimal oral health.