This year, millions of children will venture out on October 31st in their scariest, cutest costumes to collect candy from their neighbors and friends. While trick-or-treating is tradition, overconsumption of sugar on Halloween and the weeks that follow can be harmful to kids’ health. Aside from being overly caloric and leading to weight-related health issues, too much sugar is detrimental to oral health. Sugar clings to enamel, creating deposits that harvest bacteria and promote acid production, leading to cavities. When left untreated, cavities lead to gingivitis and other gum infections.
Have a Healthier Halloween
Whether you have children or are worried about your own sugar consumption on Halloween, here are a few ways to have a healthier holiday.
1. Small Candy Bags
Providing your kids with pillowcases to collect candy around the neighborhood will only motivate them to fill it up to the brim. Rather, purchase fun jack-o-lantern plastic buckets that can only hold a small amount of candy. If they choose, they can return home and drop off their collection and head out again. Chances are, though, they’ll be too tired to continue their trick-or-treating, and their candy stash won’t last them longer than a few weeks.
2. Hide the Sweets
Most single-family homeowners stock up on sweets to offer up to trick-or-treaters well before October 31st. This can be an issue for adults and children who like to munch on candy on a regular basis. Make sure to keep sugar-laden sweets out of reach or in a hard to find spot to avoid over-loading on sugar throughout the entire month of October.
3. Plan Other Activities
Halloween doesn’t have to be all about candy. Pumpkin carvings, scary (yet age-appropriate) movies, and crafts are great distractions that won’t encourage kids to snack on sweets all night. Allow an hour or two of trick-or-treating, and cap the night by telling scary stories around a backyard bonfire.
4. Offer Non-Edible Favors
Every house in the neighborhood is going to offer the basic snack-sized versions of candy favorites. Complement your candy giveaways with some fun temporary tattoos, plastic spider rings, Halloween themed school supplies, or other non-edible favors.
5. Fill Up on a Healthy Dinner
Before the kids head out on their spooky adventures, make sure they eat a well-balanced breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Lean meats, leafy greens, and whole grains should be incorporated into their diets regularly, but especially on Halloween to give them the lasting
energy to run around the neighborhood without a constant urge to snack on their candy stashes.
6. Make Sure They Brush
Before sugar has a chance to settle on the surface of teeth and wreak havoc on the mouth, have your kids brush and floss adequately before going to sleep. Drinking water also helps flush out some of the sugar residue in the mouth, and will help kids feel refreshed for the first morning in November!
Happy Halloween from Assure A Smile!
To learn more about our patient-focused approach to oral healthcare and total body wellness, visit the following page on holistic dentistry. Readers may contact our office online, or call to schedule an appointment at 305-274-0047.