Is Halloween is a dentist’s favorite holiday because of the potential toothaches all that candy can create? Nope. While we love seeing our young patients in costumes, we really don’t want to see them come in with tooth trouble. We would never suggest depriving children of Halloween fun and the treat of all that candy. However, we do want to offer a few suggestions that may help parents reduce the amount of candy consumed that night and soon after. We want them to enjoy the treats with no dental “tricks.”
It’s always easier to set the rules for how much candy can be eaten right after Trick or Treat night, and every day after that. Decide with your kids how to divide their bounty, what they want to keep for later, what can be shared with others. The “share” pile can be taken to your work or a food pantry. Some candies even freeze well and can be saved for later!
Go through their Halloween loot with your kids to ensure everything is well-wrapped and safe. At the same time make a couple of piles: soft and sticky candy, hard candy, chocolate candy. Generally speaking, sticky candies are the worst for young teeth. Try to be firm about how often these get eaten. Hard candy, on the other hand, should generally be let to dissolve. Attempts to crunch it can break teeth and damage orthodontics. Non-sticky candies with chocolate are generally the best. As with all candy, brushing and flossing will help remove sugar and reduce cavity-causing bacteria.
Halloween should be fun and festive. We hope all our young patients have a great time Trick or Treating. Our message to all: be safe, be happy, and brush your teeth!