Halloween can be downright scary for our teeth. According to a Halloween infographic from visual.ly, the average American eats 3.4 pounds of candy on Halloween. 3.4 POUNDS! That is a lot of sugar to consume in such a short amount of time. Of course, we all want to enjoy Halloween with our friends and families—including indulging a bit in the treats—but this holiday dedicated to the intake of sugar doesn’t have to be devastating to our teeth or diets with these simple tips.
1. Avoid certain treats. Sticky candies like taffy or caramels (or even fruit snacks!) get stuck to all the crevices of your teeth for long periods of time, leaving sugars to eat away at your teeth. It is best to stay away from these as well as sour candies. Sour things are sour because of acid, and that high acidity weakens your enamel and compromises the strength of your teeth. When it comes to candy, chocolate is actually one of the best options for your dental health. Because it melts away, it tends not to cling to the surfaces of your teeth for very long.
2. Don’t continuously snack on candy. It’s important not only to limit the amount of candy eaten, but also the time period it is eaten in. Dr. McIntyre and Becky had a great strategy for this. On Halloween night, their kids were allowed to eat a bunch of their candy, then they would immediately brush their teeth for bed. This way, the sugar was only on their teeth for a short amount of time. Afterwards, the children were allowed to have some of their candy as a dessert treat around mealtimes. Not only did this limit the amount of sugar consumed, but eating candy with meals also helps to dilute the level of acidity left in the children’s mouths due to the saliva produced while chewing the other healthy foods, making cavities less likely.
3. Get new toothbrushes. Encourage your children to diligently brush their teeth after eating candy by letting them pick out a new toothbrush for Halloween. This helps involve the kids in their dental hygiene, making them excited to use a new toothbrush that might be their favorite color or have their favorite character on the handle (maybe you can even find a toothbrush with the character they dressed up as!).
4. Consider donating. Let your children pick out a certain amount of candy and donate the rest! Many kids get lots of candy they aren’t interested in or just way too much candy in general. Let them know that they can give it away to help someone else smile. In fact, you can donate the candy to our office! We will be hosting our annual Halloween Candy Buy-Back this year. Smiles for Life will buy your children’s excess candy at $1 a pound and donate it all to our U.S. Troops along with thank you notes written by our patients and those donating! If you would like to donate, please stop by our office between 8:00am and 5:00pm on October 31st through November 7th.
Please be safe this Halloween however you are celebrating, and remember that you can enjoy the candy without totally compromising your dental health. And don’t forget to stop by from October 31st to November 1st to drop off candy, write a thank you note to the troops, or both!