What do most children want on Halloween, tricks or treats?
We believe 4 out of 5 children agree…and would choose a treat over a trick any day.
And all too often the overindulgence in those sweet toothy treats can lead to issues with tooth decay and gum disease.
But Halloween is a great time to teach children about good dental health habits, while still allowing them to enjoy those Halloween treats.
3 Tricks to Maintaining Healthy Teeth on Halloween
Trick # 1. Give Halloween Treats In Moderation
Most parents understand this point, but where it can go wrong is after Halloween. Let kids go nuts on the candy noshing on Halloween night – and only Halloween night.
If kids are spending the entire Halloween weekend shoveling enough mass quantities of candy down their gullets to make the Coneheads jealous, that isn’t moderation – it’s candy overload.
Deprivation doesn’t work when it comes to teaching kids about optimal oral health, but moderation is a great trick for maintaining healthy teeth & gums through the Halloween treat cavity creep onslaught.
Remember the message that “candy is bad”, is misguided. Kids already know is total BS, but the message that candy and other sweet treats, if eaten in excess, can lead to cavities provides a lifelong lesson.
Key Takeaway: Kids learn that eating Halloween treats isn’t a free-for-all, there are limits & consequences.
Give ’em free reign on Halloween, let kids have a go at all the candy they want – then go do something good the next day (or week) & go donate all of that leftover candy to your local dentist…
Trick #2. Set A Time for Halloween Treats to Help Protect Teeth
Schedule out your Halloween treat feast. Get together with the kids, family, and all that candy at a specific time, whether it’s post trick-or-treating, or the next day, setting a time to enjoy the Halloween treats can be a great trick to limit the effects of Halloween candy overload.
This little trick can even be used in other ways long after Halloween to educate children about optimal oral health & good eating habits.
Key Takeaway: There is a time for everything. Setting a specific time to indulge (or over-indulge) in those sugar-laden Halloween treats can limit kids from thinking about eating more candy later on in the day – or week.
Trick 3. Give the Good With the Bad Halloween Treats
We certainly can’t remove all of the unhealthy, sugar-laden, cavity creep inviting Halloween treats from our kids’ trick-or-treat bags, but we can do a little one for one substituting.
We all know the houses that give out the granola bars, or orange slices, raisin boxes, or apple wedges…and we all avoided those houses as kids.
So again instead of depriving our kids the annual enjoyment of noshing away on Halloween candy, try substituting one piece of candy with one of those aforementioned healthy treats.
A more aggressive approach may be warranted for some households, substituting a more uneven ratio, or only making the healthy Halloween treats accessible.
Key Takeaway: The trick is all in the presentation, parents can flip the script and immediately reduce the Halloween candy consumption by 50%.
Check out this post for 5 more healthy tooth tips on Halloween.
The Cavity Creeps Don’t Take A Day Off
This is no trick at all, after chowing down on those Halloween treats, be sure to schedule some face time in front of the mirror with your kids to make sure they floss & brush their teeth.
After eating sweets that can stick to teeth, it’s important to get rid of those cavity-causing creeps as soon as possible. Swishing a little water between the candy popping can’t hurt either.
Halloween is a great opportunity to reinforce the importance of a diligent daily health regimen – for parents & children.
Enjoy those treats…have a safe, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
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This post originally appeared on Dental Patient News and has been republished with permission.