Halloween candy and dental health

Minimize Dental Damage from Halloween Candy

If you think that the Halloween season is scary, imagine how you would feel if you were a tooth! October is here, and we all love the fun-sized candies that show up everywhere you turn. But as fun as free candy is, it can be a horror show for your child’s dental health.

Of course, you probably don’t want to be the parent who keeps your child from enjoying such a fun holiday. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways that you can minimize the impact that Halloween candy has on your child’s teeth. Help your child enjoy the best that Halloween has to offer, without making their teeth pay the price. Here are some creative tips:

  1. Steer clear of the worst treats: Plain chocolate isn’t as bad as say, sour candies, gummies, or those hard candies that children suck on for a long time. Consider how long the sugar stays on the teeth and whether there’s acid that can also contribute to sensitivity.
  2. Avoid snacking: The longer the sugar is in contact with teeth, the worse the damage. It’s not the quantity of sugar that does the damage; it’s the time! So, don’t let children snack on sugar all day. Instead, allow them some candy after dinner, and make sure that they brush afterwards.
  3. Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF: UNICEF has found a way to curtail candy consumption, and direct children’s trick-or-treating for good instead. Have all the fun of trick-or-treating but gather change for charity instead. Learn more here.
  4. Donate candy: There are many programs that collect Halloween candy and send it in care packages to troops overseas instead. Most of these programs will do a buy-back system that offer toys or cash in exchange for candy. Here’s one example. Search and see if you can find a drop-off location near you!
  5. Trade-in at home: If there are no options for candy trade-ins nearby, set it up yourself at home. Create a shop where children can buy fun toys and treats that they really want, using their Halloween candy as payment. Not only will this limit the amount of sugar they consume, but it can also introduce them to smart financial management.
  6. Set a time limit: Many parents handle Halloween candy by allowing children a day or two of indulgence, then repossessing any remaining Halloween candy. This candy is either to be eked out at a reasonable rate, or saved for future purposes. Consider freezing leftover candy, and then using it for shakes and baking during the holiday season. You could also add leftover candy to the Thanksgiving table, or put together little gift packages for Christmas.

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