Halloween doesn’t have to be Hell for Teeth

Published:October 3rd, 2014

Julia Freeman-WoolpertLove it or hate, Halloween is fast approaching, and over the past few years things have changed. What used to be a low key event that was perhaps celebrated with a few children’s parties, or more grown-up affairs, is fast turning into a far more American version. Across the pond, Halloween is huge, complete with trick or treating where kids come back with enormous hauls of tooth rotting goodies.

While there is nothing wrong with a bit of a celebration, the sweets can be more of a problem. You don’t want to be seen to be a killjoy, but at the same time you don’t want to put your kids teeth at risk, so what can you do? The good news is that they can still have a good time, while protecting their pearly whites, although be prepared for some negotiations beforehand. Top tips for getting through Halloween include:

Talk to Your Kids about Dental Health
This can be a great time to talk to your child about dental health, and to teach them the types of foods that can cause cavities. Sticky sweets are the worst culprits, but other items such as crisps or even dried fruit and fruit juice can be pretty bad too.

Don’t Deny Your Child All Sweets
Your immediate reaction might be to prevent them from having any of their Halloween haul, but something that is forbidden automatically becomes far more attractive, and this doesn’t teach them the importance of enjoying everything in moderation. Instead, agree with them that you’ll go through all their sweets together, so they can pick a certain number of items they really like, and which they will enjoy eating.

There is likely to be a lot of stuff they are not so bothered about, but may be tempted to eat just because it is there. If possible, try to steer them towards chocolate rather than sticky sweets, as chocolate melts more quickly and is more easily washed away by saliva. Either bin the rest, or donate it if possible.

Set Treat Times
Once your child has decided which treats they want to keep, set aside a specific time of day when they can eat them, perhaps at the end of a meal. You may want to keep this ritual in place once Halloween is over, as knowing they are allowed to eat sweets at certain times can make them less inclined to think about eating them at other times during the day.

Buy Their Halloween Sweets from them
If you know your child is saving up for something, offer to buy their entire haul of sweets from them. This can be a great bribe, but make sure you know what you will do with all those sweets as it can be tempting to eat them yourself.

Get Together with Other Parents
If you talk to other parents, you may well find some at least have similar worries about their child’s teeth. It might be possible to talk about alternative non-edible treats to hand out, and with a bit of brainstorming you could come up with some really creative alternatives.

If All Else Fails
Make sure they brush and floss very thoroughly after eating their Halloween sweets, and that they go to bed with a clean mouth, then breathe a sigh of relief that it is all over for another year.

About the author

Alison, is a UK born and educated dental professional with over 25 years experience.

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