Halloween is near, which for most children means bags of free candy and a chance to build a stockpile of sweets for the winter. No surprise, Halloween can also present parents with a variety of health and safety challenges.
Here’s how you can help your family keep a healthy mouth on Halloween and year-round.
TIME IT RIGHT
Eat Halloween candy (and other sugary foods) with meals or shortly after mealtime. Saliva production increases during meals. This helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and rinse away food particles.
CHOOSE CANDY CAREFULLY
Avoid hard candy and other sweets that stay in your mouth for a long time. Aside from how often you snack, the length of time sugary food is in your mouth plays a role in tooth decay. Unless it is a sugar-free product, candies that stay in the mouth for a long period of time subject teeth to an increased risk for tooth decay.
AVOID STICKY SITUATIONS
Sticky candies cling to your teeth. The stickier candies, like taffy and gummy bears, take longer to get washed away by saliva, increasing the risk for tooth decay.
HAVE A PLAN
It’s tempting to keep that candy around, but your teeth will thank you if you limit your stash. Communicate your plan for the mountain of candy and stick to it! Some parents have found that letting the child choose ten pieces and allow them eat it whenever they want, gives them some control over the situation and allows the parents to ditch the remaining candy without fuss.
DRINK MORE WATER
Drink water to help prevent tooth decay. Water is a great neutralizer for sugar.