Fall is in full swing and Halloween is right around the corner! Pumpkin carving, haunted houses, spooky movies… Halloween is a festive time of year and one that many children look forward to months in advance. Arguably the most anticipated Halloween activity is the one that can wreak irreversible damage on your child’s teeth: the aftermath of trick-or-treating (aka candy consumption). Below, we offer tips on dealing with the abundance of sugary treats during the Halloween season and protecting your child’s teeth from dangerous decay. Trick-Or-Treat, save your teeth!
Participate in Madison Family Dental’s “Candy Bounce Back & Makeover”
Madison Family Dental has created an initiative called “Candy Bounce Back & Makeover” to combat unhealthy eating habits around Halloween. After Halloween, when you bring your child to either Madison Family Dental location and turn in a minimum of one pound of candy (per child), they’ll receive a Madison Family Dental “Healthy Smiles” goody bag.
In the spring, 4th and 5th graders at Madison and DeForest area schools will use the donated candy to create unique works of art, which are then voted on by the community. Following the conclusion of the program, all participating students will receive a goody bag of prizes and additional prizes will be awarded based on community votes. Find more details on “Candy Bounce Back & Makeover” here!
Limit candy consumption to immediately after meals
In addition to our Candy Bounce Back program, there are other things you can do to protect your child’s teeth. The more frequently your children’s teeth are exposed to candy, the greater the risk of tooth decay. Allowing your children to snack on candy throughout the day increases the likelihood of cavities. You should instead allow your child to eat a small amount of candy immediately after a meal (and no more frequently).
Limiting candy consumption to immediately after meals is a good way to regulate the amount of candy your child consumes and makes the candy consumption itself less detrimental to your child’s teeth. Eating a meal produces saliva which both mitigates tooth-eroding acid produced by bacteria and rinses food particles away. Drinking water and chewing sugarless gum can have similar tooth-preserving effects.
Be picky when it comes to the type of candy your child eats
Not all candy is created equal, and some are more harmful to teeth than others. The longer your child’s teeth are exposed to the candy, the greater the risk of issues down the road. That being said, do your best to avoid hard or sticky candy. Many children suck on hard candy, meaning the candy is in their mouth for an extended period of time, increasing the risk of tooth decay. Sticky candy, as its name implies, sticks to teeth and is less readily washed away by saliva, giving bacteria more prolonged contact with teeth. And sour candy? It can wreak havoc on teeth as well, as the high acidity level can eat away at tooth enamel. The least destructive type of candy is chocolate — particularly dark chocolate, as it has less sugar than milk chocolate.
As always, encourage healthy habits
Around Halloween, it’s more important than ever to encourage and monitor your child’s oral hygiene habits. Make sure your child is brushing twice a day for at least two minutes each time. Also remember to replace their toothbrush every three to four months, or as soon as it starts looking frayed. Flossing at least once a day will also reduce the risk of tooth decay and cavities.
Have a happy (and healthy!) Halloween, and feel free to reach out to Madison Family Dental with any questions. Trick-Or-Treat, save your teeth!