Halloween is a frightfully fun holiday. Chances are that you want your children to continue to enjoy this night full of ghosts, goblins and delectable delights, but have concerns about how all the candy they collect affects their teeth. Docbraces is here to help: Our Dental Guide for Halloween is designed to assist parents by offering tips on more tooth-friendly ways that their children can enjoy the sugary-treats they collect on All Hollows’ Eve.
Docbraces’ Dental Guide for Halloween
1. Sort the Sweets
For safety’s sake, parents already check each piece of candy. We recommend that parents also sort the sweets according to candy type. For example, hard candy will go into one pile, sticky candies in another, and so on. Once the sorting is complete, place the sticky, gummy and hard candy in one container (these will be disposed of later). Place the rest of the candy, which is the candy that you will be keeping, in another container.
HINT: Plain chocolate is less harmful than hard candies, gummies, caramels, taffy and sour candies.
Tips for sorting your sweets:
Any candy that remains in the mouth for a long time should be thrown away. Hard candy can break or chip a tooth, chewy candy can loosen a crown, cap or a dental filling and get stuck in the crevices of the teeth, which means it will stay there to feed bacteria and damage the teeth for a very long time. Sour candy usually contains citric acid, which is harmful to the teeth; therefore, avoiding these kinds of candies is best. If you or your child do choose to eat any of these chewy or acidic candies, rinse your mouth with water directly afterwards, then brush and floss 30 minutes later.
2. Limit Candy Consumption Time
Some parents make a practice of allowing their children to indulge themselves with their Halloween candy for a couple of days. After the kids eat all this candy, they may have had their fill for some time; thus, making it pretty easy for mom and/or dad to repossess what remains. This leftover candy can serve a variety of purposes. Some families freeze the remaining M & M’s, candy bars, and kisses to add to the cookies, and cupcakes they bake throughout the holiday season.
If you did keep some of the hard candies, these can be used to create stained-glass ornaments for a holiday tree or to give as gifts to family and friends. The hard candies can be crushed, placed inside various shapes cut out in the cookie dough and then baked. Do not forget to make a hole for the ribbon so it can hang on your tree. Once the cookies are done and cooled, if you want to keep them indefinitely, spray them with polyurethane. Prior to spraying them, these are edible; however, watch out for the stained-glass because you could chip a tooth.
3. Candy as Cash
If you want to avoid just taking away your child’s hard, sticky and sour candy, consider setting up a ‘candy as cash’ shop at home. Head to your local dollar store and grab some fun Halloween toys that you think your kids will love. They can use their candy to pay for the items they want. Besides limiting the amount of sugar your children eat by creating this store, they might just learn a little bit about managing finances. Accomplish this by basing payment on the type of candy you ‘charge’ for a specific toy. For example, if you know that your child loves sticky candy, and enjoys to colour, use this information to your advantage as you price your items. For example, a colouring book with crayons may cost five pieces of sticky candy; whereas, a stuffed animal may be ‘cheaper’ only costing three pieces of hard candy.
4. Set a Regular Treat Time
By setting a specific treat time, you can reduce the likelihood that your family will be snacking throughout the day. In addition, this helps to encourage moderation. Consider setting up your family’s treat time after a meal because your mouths will already be producing additional saliva, which will help wash the sugar away: Washing the sugar away is very important because it is not the amount of sugar that causes damage to the teeth, it is the amount of time that the sugar stays on the teeth that does.
5. Brush and Floss
Make sure that your children brush their teeth twice a day and floss at least once. Brushing and flossing rids the mouth of the bacteria responsible for breaking down the protective coating on the teeth (i.e., enamel), which leads to decay and cavities. Have your children brush their teeth in the morning as well as before they go to bed: Each brushing session should last for two minutes.
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Docbraces has offices located throughout the Canadian Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Ontario.
We have offices in:
- Dartmouth, Halifax, Moncton, Truro and Amherst, Nova Scotia
- Charlottetown and Summerside, Prince Edward Island
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To make an appointment at one of Docbraces’ offices please call 1-866-639-7695.