Halloween is a tough time of year to enforce healthy eating and dental habits when you have young children. We’re here to help with healthy Halloween strategies that will keep your kids, and your dentist, happy!
What’s Wrong with Halloween Candy?
Eating sweet candy in moderation shouldn’t be a problem for your child, but during the Halloween season, kids get bombarded with sugary snacks during celebrations that seem to stretch across the entire month. Between parties at school, weekend community events, and trick-or-treating, it can start to feel like your child is eating nothing but candy!
The problem is, the bacteria in our mouths love sugar—even more than your kids do! They gobble it up and turn it into acid that eventually causes cavities and tooth decay. When your kids are out in school and the community it can be hard to ensure they brush immediately after consuming the sugar and carbohydrate loaded snacks that fuel this process.
Healthier Halloween Strategies
This year try some alternative, healthier Halloween strategies to ensure ghosts and goblins are the only thing spooky about this holiday. Denying our kids sweet treats amidst the onslaught of Halloween madness can be stressful, these ideas offer not only healthier options, but tips to manage your child’s expectations for the big day as well.
This used to be easier said than done, but these days so many brands are offering healthier options to satisfy our sweet tooth:
- Dark chocolate and dark chocolate peanut butter cups
- Granola bars
- Fruit leathers
- Yogurt covered fruit
Distract with Other Excitements
Include other exciting, interactive toys in your trick or treat bag like glow sticks to distract kids from candy while trick-or-treating. Items that provide immediate entertainment will be a hit among tiny trick-or-treaters:
- Temporary tattoos
- Glow sticks
- Halloween-themed bubble makers
- Light-up bouncy balls
The figure of the Switch Witch has gained popularity recently. The Switch Witch operates much like the tooth fairy. Essentially, your child can trade Halloween candy for a single treat. Overnight they leave their candy as an offering to the Switch Witch and in the morning find a treat or reward of a less sugary nature. Whether this is money, a reprieve on chores, or a gift is totally up to you and what suits your household.
Candy Management Strategies
You don’t need to cut out candy entirely to effectively mitigate the negative effects of Halloween on your child’s dental health. These simple tips mitigate candy consumption by managing your child’s expectations.
- Out of sight out of mind: Storing candy out of sight helps your kids keep it out of their mind and eventually forget about it.
- One piece per day: Some families choose to let their children choose one piece of candy per day until it is gone. Consuming candy at home means you can make sure brushing happens right away!
- Unlimited access: This strategy isn’t for everyone, but some parents swear by it. The argument is that giving your children unrestricted access to their Halloween candy helps them learn lessons own their own that they aren’t likely to forget. If they gorge themselves until they’re sick, hopefully, they will adopt more moderate behaviors in the future.
- Only eat on Halloween: Try a rule where candy can be consumed while trick-or-treating, but after the holiday it disappears and is no longer available.
Halloween doesn’t have to be scary for your children’s teeth! Whichever strategies you choose to employ to manage candy consumption, be sure to include your child in the planning process so they know what to expect. Simply depriving your child of treats can backfire and only make them want them more. The likelihood of success increases when your child knows what is going to happen to the candy they bring home.
Are you worried your child went a little overboard this Halloween season? As always, scheduling an appointment with your dentist is the best way to maintain good dental health. Give us a call, we would love to see your family for a check-up!