Whether you’re giving out candy this year or going out with your kids as they collect pounds of sweets, you can help everyone be a little bit healthier this Halloween. We don’t expect any kids to completely give up all candy, but as Honolulu diabetic dentists, we do think it’s important to stay as healthy as possible. So rather than telling you to ban all candy for your kids, the next best thing we can do is pass along a few tips for healthy Halloween treats.
Take a few minutes to see how you, your loved ones, and those little monsters and ghosts visiting your house can keep healthier, happier smiles this Halloween. For any more tips or help, call A Downtown Dental Group at 808-797-3680 today.
Toss These Tricks, Not Treats
Let’s start with the tooth terrors! We only mention these because we know the real damage they can do to teeth, whether that’s leading directly to cavities, loosening fillings, or breaking teeth. We’ve seen many a dental emergency and treated many teeth from their effects, and we want to do our duty as your dentist to pass along these “tricks” disguised as treats:
- Sticky candy like bubblegum and gummies
- Chewy candy like caramels
- Acidic candy like sour gummies
- Hard candy like suckers and jawbreakers
If you’re sorting through your kids’ or grandkids’ candy, or if you’re going out soon to buy candy for your little visitors, consider this list and think twice before letting the kids indulge. In particular, sticky acidic candy can do more damage than the rest. Cavities are caused by sugars that stick to and collect on teeth – especially hard-to-clean back teeth. Bacteria feeds off those sugars and creates acid. That acid destroys tooth enamel. When you add more acid to your teeth, it’s hard for even brushing and flossing to fight it off.
Take These Treats In Moderation
There are better options than the tricks we mentioned above. Always choose items with less sugar, especially if you’re going to end up with leftovers. You’ll see that many of these contain lots of carbohydrates, which tend to get stuck in teeth. However, because they contain less sugar, they aren’t as detrimental to oral health.
- Snack-size bags of multigrain chips
- Snack-size bags of pretzels
- Snack-size bags of crackers, like Goldfish
- Snack-size bags of trail mix (watch for nut allergies, of course)
- Snack-size bags of fat-free popcorn
- Fruit leather with 100% real fruit
- 100% juice boxes
- Tangerines or mandarins
- Dried fruit like raisins, cherries, or cranberries
- Chocolate-covered raisins and nuts
- Yogurt-covered raisins and nuts
- Milk chocolate bars
- Milk chocolate nut or crispy bars
- Chocolate peanut butter cups
- Coconut treats
If you buy your kids snacks and food for their lunches, you might brainstorm those kinds of foods for other ideas, too.
Treat Yourself To These Halloween Goodies
There are tooth-friendly Halloween options you can choose and not have to worry about their effect on teeth. A few of those are:
- Dark chocolate bars
- Sugarless gum, especially gum containing xylitol
- Apples (choose small ones for kids)
- Bananas (make sure they’re ripe but not too ripe)
- Individual peanut butter packs (for kids without allergies)
- Snack-size bags of nuts (for kids without allergies)
If you want to pass on snacks or sweets altogether, your Halloween goodies are sure to stand out and please kiddos! Consider some of these non-candy Halloween treats:
- Small toys like yo-yos and balls
- Arts & crafts, like small drawing pads and crayons
- Temporary tattoos
- Small games and puzzles
- Packs of cards, especially Halloween themed
- Jewelry (boys and girls like Halloween-themed jewelry like spider rings, as well as glow jewelry and light-up jewelry)
- Glow sticks
- Mini Play-Doh packs
Take Care Of Trick-Or-Treated Teeth With These Tips
Whether your kids eat healthy Halloween treats or not-so-healthy treats, you can do a few things to keep decay and other dental problems at bay.
- Make sure your kids brush twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste. They should get all surfaces.
- Make sure they floss once a day. Fun flossers can make the process easier.
- Have them swish water around after eating any candy or sweets, and make sure they drink water throughout the day and with their meals.
- Start talking about healthy and less healthy options for their teeth now. Make it fun rather than a lecture. You can even print Halloween coloring sheets from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry that can help them remember the effects of sugar on their teeth.
- Limit how much candy they can eat in one day.
- Throw out candy, especially the less healthy options, after a set amount of time.
- Donate candy with our annual Halloween Candy Buyback! A Downtown Dental Group buys back extra Halloween candy at $1 per pound. This candy is sent to our troops overseas.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these tips on healthy Halloween treats – and that you enjoy Halloween with your loved ones! For more tips from Dr. Wilfred Miyasaki, Dr. David Miyasaki, or our team, call A Downtown Dental Group in Honolulu at 808-797-3680. You can also contact us online.