The autumn leaves may have stopped falling for the most part, but the candy wrappers have only just begun to litter your carpet. Why? Because this year your child brought home a bigger Halloween haul than ever before, and getting chocolate stains on the living room couch should be the least of your worries. These high-in-sugar treats are infamous culprits for causing dental plaque to build up, leading to the formation of cavities and other serious conditions. Now is the time to implement a plan with your child that allows them to enjoy their treats while encouraging them to consider their dental and whole-body health. Here are a few tips from the Windsor Family Dentistry team:
1. Keep it in the Kitchen – The elation that comes with suddenly having enough candy to last until Easter will lead most kids to make a secret stash in their bedroom. Here, they can snack at will, including before meals and after brushing their teeth at night. To avoid these unhealthy habits, we recommend keeping the candy in a kitchen or pantry cabinet where you can supervise how much and when they indulge.
2. Donate it to a Cause – Many children, especially young ones, simply lose interest in their Halloween candy after a few weeks. If you know that your child has brought home more than they can eat in a timely fashion, consider donating it to Operation Gratitude. This is an organization that donates sweets to US troops by sending them in care packages. You can find their website here.
3. Be a Little Picky – Some Halloween candies are more dangerous for your child’s teeth than others. Sticky and chewy sweets like taffy, caramels, Butter Fingers and gummy candy leave a sugary, decay-causing residue on your teeth long after enjoying them. It may be a good idea to go through your child’s Halloween candy and reduce or eliminate these sorts of treats if their oral hygiene habits aren’t fully developed.
4. Make a Trade-Off – Eating an entire bucket of candy too quickly can be harmful to more than just your child’s teeth. Try rationing it out over a few weeks to a month by allowing them to eat a few pieces of candy if they finish their dinner or promise to floss afterward.
5. Set a Deadline – Rather than allowing your child to hoard their candy until its stale or Christmas rolls around, try setting a date at which they must throw the remaining portion away. If you aren’t carefully monitoring your child’s candy consumption, this is a good way of limiting their sugar intake.
Do you have any suggestions of your own? Let us know on the Windsor Family Dentistry Facebook page.