It’s fun for children to dress up in costumes to go trick-or-treating for Halloween, but parents should be on guard to make sure that the holiday’s festivities don’t play tricks on their children’s oral health. It’s never too early to start preparing your strategies to limit Halloween overindulgences.
Parents can consult with a pediatric dentist to develop a good game plan that allows a child to enjoy Halloween without overdoing it.
- Encourage your child to choose the healthier snacks in the bag – Many people hand out treats that aren’t so sugary, like pretzels, popcorn or trail mix. Suggest that your child select these treats first. Even dark chocolate has some health-boosting properties.
- Reinforce good oral hygiene habits – Make sure your child is brushing and flossing properly, and, if possible, have him or her brush after eating treats–or at least rinse out the mouth afterward. This is particularly important if your child enjoys candies that have sticky substances, like caramel, that can leave residue on the teeth for some time, giving oral bacteria an easy nutrition source.
- Get rid of any excess candy – if the candy is no longer in your home, it can’t tempt your child. Many hospitals will collect candy, or you could donate it to military members stationed overseas.
Your pediatric dentist may also have suggestions that are specific to your child’s case. For example, if your child wears braces, the dentist can give you a list of off-limits snacks that may show up in Halloween bags.
You may want to consider these tips as you are choosing what types of treats to hand out at your house, too. If you choose to give away snacks that have less of an impact on a child’s oral health, like pretzels, fresh fruit or bottled water, you’ll be giving your neighbors’ children a better choice, too.
Before your little one hits the neighborhood streets to collect candy, be sure to check in with our team at Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry to see if you’re doing everything right to reduce the risk of post-Halloween cavities.