Now that you’ve gotten through trick-or-treating with your little ghosts and goblins, it’s time to manage their candy consumption. There are several tricks that parents use during the days immediately following Halloween to moderate the amount of sugar going into their children’s bodies. See if any of these sound familiar:
- The Eat-What-You-Want Method: The candy is dumped in a big bowl and placed in a conspicuous location. As the children desire, they can help themselves to the candy. Naturally, it is gone within a few days. Halloween is now officially over.
- The Hard-and-Fast Rule Method: Parents have decided upon an appropriate number of candy pieces to be eaten each day. The children can have their daily allotment at a specific time, then aren’t allowed any more until the next day. The candy might last until Thanksgiving, or even longer.
- The Trade-In Method: Kids are allowed, encouraged or required to trade in their loot for something more valuable, such as money, iTunes gift cards or a toy that they’ve been eyeing. With any luck, the candy disappears on the evening of Halloween or early on November 1.
Then, of course, there are the methods that include the parents eating most of the good stuff after the kids go to bed, or those that involve bringing the candy to area nursing homes or hospitals so that others may enjoy the sweet confections before they can damage their children’s teeth.
No matter how you handle Halloween at your house, there are a few steps you can take to help your kids get through the season without developing any new cavities. Follow these guidelines for a healthy, happy, cavity free smile that lasts well into the new year.
Brush, Floss, Repeat
If your children keep up with their regular dental routines, they should not have much of a problem, even if they are eating candy each day. Make sure that they’re brushing morning and night, and help younger kids with flossing before bed.
Get It In – and Out – of Their Systems
Instead of allowing your children to graze on candy all day over the next several weeks, encourage them to eat their daily allotment in one sitting. This naturally cuts down on the amount that they’ll eat, and it also allows you to then promptly follow up with required toothbrushing. The teeth won’t be being bathed in sugar all day, which can cut down on cavity-causing bacteria.
Choose the Right Types of Candy
Anything chewy or sticky is more likely to anchor itself to the teeth. It might be helpful to go through their candy stashes and remove anything super-sticky. You can also pick up a few packs of sugar-free gum, particularly the type that contains xylitol, and slip it in their bags. That kind of sweet is actually good for teeth!
If your child does develop some sensitivity, be sure to give us a call promptly so we can get him or her in for a checkup. Remember that small problems can usually be treated quickly (and relatively inexpensively); the same cannot be said for larger, more painful problems!