FANG-tastic Halloween: 5 simple tricks to scare cavities away during Halloween

5 simple tricks to scare cavities away during Halloween Halloween is right around the corner, an event that is associated with copious amounts of cand...

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5 simple tricks to scare cavities away during Halloween

Halloween is right around the corner, an event that is associated with copious amounts of candy and additives that are renowned for their ability to cause tooth decay.  Although, we are NOT here to tell you to refrain from eating these sugary condiments that bring much joy and happiness for many kids; an asset that is desperately needed during these rather unprecedented times. However, we are here to provide advice on how to alleviate the negative oral effects prototypical of excessive candy consumption!  We understand this year’s Halloween will be very different from previous years. Shelter in place across California (and the US in general), has meant that children can’t go out and get bucket-full of candy from neighbors. But, this does have an advantage for your children's oral health. When purchasing your own candy to compensate for the shelter-in-place, you can be in charge of what your children eat, and you also have the ability to teach them very important oral tips that will be indispensable in later life.  To shed light on this, we have compiled a list of top tips for combatting candy during this Halloween, that will help scare cavities away while still allowing you to enjoy those mouthwatering goodies. 

1) Don’t deprive your kids of candy

Rule number 1. Do not deprive your children of eating candy. I know we should probably not be saying this as dentists, but this short-term cavity combative measure could lead to more serious problems in the future. Deprival can send the wrong message entirely and make them crave those sugary foods more in the future. They may even sneak a few when there’s no one watching! - Instead, it may be a fruitful idea to get your children to pick their top 10 (or however many you decide) of their favorite snacks. The remaining candy you have can be hidden away or donated to a food bank. They may want to pick hard sweets, soft sweets, chocolate, and even pretzels as their Halloween treats! This is a useful lesson to showcase to them that there is an array of snacks that are bad for their oral hygiene, not just excessive sugary candy.  Allowing children to pick their favorite snacks will teach them that ‘candy is not bad’, but as the saying goes ‘everything in moderation’. Too much will lead to cavities, but having a few snacks here and there, particularly during Halloween, is completely fine! 

2) Choose Candy Wisely

Despite allowing children to pick the snacks they want out of their goodie bags (refer to point 1), as a parent, you still have the ability to choose which candy you can provide to your children. Unlike your usual assortment of Halloween candy bags, COVID-19 has immersed us all into this unique environment where we can pick and purchase the candy for our children. So choose wisely!  Not all candies are created equal. On a scale of worst to best, gummies, lollipops, and caramels are by far the most damaging to children’s teeth. This is because the frequency of exposure is more harmful in most cases than quantity. Lollipops and gummies are high in glucose and last for prolonged periods of time on your teeth. The sugar will wear down the enamel on your teeth and the frequency of exposure increases the chance of harm. If presenting your children with any of these types of sweets, make sure they brush their teeth after finishing them to remove any plaque deposits.  Better treats are typically chocolate, the best of which is dark chocolate, whose cocoa beans are known for their antibacterial compounds that can fight bacteria in the mouth. 

3)  Set a Treat Time 

It may be a fruitful idea to set a treat time during the Halloween period. This could be a schedule that lasts beyond Halloween and thus teaches your kids some valuable lessons:

  • Teaches children that excess candy consumption is not tolerated and moderation is essential for oral and general health
  • Makes kids less inclined to snack throughout the day if they have a dedicated time to consume goodies

4) Set up a brushing schedule

No matter what time it is, it is crucial to brush your children’s teeth after they have been eating candy. Some foods and drinks, particularly those high in carbohydrates and sugars, can stimulate the growth of oral bacteria that attack your tooth enamel. By brushing your teeth after you eat, you reduce this bacteria and help protect your enamel from damage. Fluoride mouth rinses for kids also help prevent tooth decay, according to the American Dental Association.

5) Drink water and limit other sugars. 

In the next few weeks (or months even with Christmas on the horizon), candy is going to become a frequent sighting in many homes across America. For this reason, we would also recommend increasing the amount of water your children consume and reducing the number of sugars they have in other foods - particularly sugary drinks. Water has the benefit of washing away leftover food and residue that cavity-causing bacteria love to eat. It prevents bacteria from deteriorating your teeth - maintaining good oral health for your children.  And that’s it. There are our fang-tastic tips for combatting scary Halloween cavities that are likely to ensure if you don’t adhere to good oral hygiene practices.

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