6 Trick-or-Treating Tips You Can Learn From A Dentist
Some Links In This Post Are Affiliate Links, See Disclosure For More Details
Okay, so the ultimate holiday for all things CANDY is upon us. Tis the season for adorable costumes and sugar fueled kids. Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays and experiencing it as a mom is almost more fun than it was celebrating it when I was younger. Now that I am a mom though I have to consider how to delicately balance providing my kids with fun holiday experiences while still trying to do what is best for them and their growing bodies! Add to this the fact that I treat cavities on young children for a living and you could probably imagine my hesitation as this holiday approaches. But do not fear for my girls, I still let my kids indulge and enjoy their Halloween but I keep in mind these certain pointers that I will share with you to help you make the holiday as fun, yet as healthy as possible!
A Dentist's Tips For A Healthy Halloween
If you can swing it, make sure to provide a healthy and filling meal for both lunch and dinner prior to trick or treating. I know lunch will be hard for school aged children that eat school lunch but definitely shoot for a healthy dinner. This not only makes sure that your little ones have all their essential vitamins and nutrients in their systems prior to the candy feast but also means they may eat less candy out of hunger, so really a win-win!!
There are certain treats that it is best to avoid passing out and even avoid having your little ones indulge in. The simple explanation as to why these treats ends up on the "No-No" list has to do with both their high sugar content and their overall texture. The list below in not all inclusive although I tried to list the main offenders, the general rule to go by for this is to avoid anything that is sticky, especially hard and sticky. Anything with this type of texture sticks deep into the grooves of teeth and even with brushing sometimes remains on the teeth. Going to bed with sticky candies or snacks in the grooves of your teeth can certainly lead to cavities in many children. And with that scary thought, here is the list of the candies you should really try to avoid from the perspective of a dentist:
Laffy Taffy, Jolly Ranchers, Tootsie Rolls, Dots, Starburst, Gummy Bears and Gummy Worms, Fruit Snacks and Fruit Roll Ups, Caramels, Sour Patch Kids, Now&Laters, Sugar Chewing Gum
And regarding these treats another thought to consider, does your child have dental work in their mouths such as fillings, crowns/caps, space maintaining appliances, or orthodontic appliances? If so you will especially want to stay away from the above mentioned things as this can cause these types of dental work to become unbonded/unglued or damaged.
Now that we have covered what not to snack on, how about we talk about what things would be good choices to both give and consume this Halloween? These treats may not be the most colorful or fun out there but they are certainly less problematic when it comes to keeping your teeth healthy.
Chocolate Candies such as Crunch Bar, M&M's, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Pieces, Hershey's Bar, Granola Bars, Goldfish or other snack crackers, Packaged Nuts (for those that are not allergic), small packages of Animal Crackers, small packages of Cookies, Banana Chips.
How about starting some non-candy Halloween traditions in your home this year and even letting that carry over into what you pass out to trick or treaters? Family traditions such as good old fashioned pumpkin carving or decorating and bobbing for apples can be just as fun and exciting for kids as going trick or treating! Growing up we always had a spooky Halloween board game that we would come home early form trick or treating to play as a family and I still have wonderful memories of doing this!
As the world's population of children with it allergies continues to grow it is also a wonderful idea to pass out non food related items this Halloween. Things as simple as stickers, tattoos, glow in the dark bracelets, sticky hands, bouncy balls and bubbles are all good choices. Amazon always has a plethora of options like this and Target has recently really upped their game in this category, lots of small novelty type items that come in bulk sized packages and may even come in cheaper than candy! Just be sure that whatever you decide to pass our is either not a choking hazard or else have a separate option for the younger crowd!
Now, even though I am sure you read all this information and took it to heart, I am also certain some of your children and even you parents for that matter will have some of the treats on the "no" list. To be honest, I eat such things too and may or may not have had a previous addiction to Sour Patch Kids LOL! So when it comes down to it, just be sure to very carefully brush and floss afterwards. You will want to be sure to clean our all of the grooves of your teeth and in between your teeth well to remove any remaining sticky sugars there. If your children are old enough to brush and floss themselves this is one instance where I would recommend a visual inspection of their teeth when they are finished to verify nothing remains on those teeth before they drift off to sleep! After all, who wants to follow up a fun holiday celebration with a trip to the dentist??
And my final tip which I'm sure a lot of you likely already do, be sure to go through all the candy with your child, of course throwing out any suspicious items but also throwing out any items that you would rather not have them eat. Once you are down to the pile that you intend to keep, portion out what they are allowed to eat for Halloween evening and then hide the rest in a safe spot. This allows you to control how often and when they can eat the remainder of their loot!
Leave a comment below if you have any other tips to pass along! I hope everyone out there has a wonderful and safe Halloween!