With Halloween fast approaching, many families and dentists are looking for ways to help their children celebrate without the added risk of cavities or other dental health risks associated with too much candy and sugar. Being dental health-conscious doesn’t mean foregoing candy entirely, but the American Dental Association does warn that families should have a plan for helping their kids not go overboard with the sweets. Don’t give your kids constant access to the candy they get this time of year, but a few pieces after a meal or as a small snack here and there won’t cause an increased risk of developing dental problems. However, there are plenty of other options besides candy out there to help kids have fun and enjoy the spooky season. Here are some fun, teeth-friendly treats trick-or-treaters will love:
Toys and Trinkets
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to find Halloween-themed toys and trinkets to give out. Kids love small toys like fidgets or yo-yos or plastic rings. A quick stop at the local dollar or party supply store will give you plenty of ideas and options for knickknacks to keep kids entertained.
Halloween Snacks without Sugar
There are lots of treats that don’t have sugar listed in the ingredients that still can be a fun holiday snack. Give your kids a small bag of pretzels or even sugar-free versions of candy.
For older kids, gum can be a great alternative for candy. It satisfies their sweet tooth and has even been proven to be beneficial for gum and teeth health if chewed after meals. (Be sure to look for sugar-free gum that has been approved by the ADA!)
What kid doesn’t love a fun sticker or sticker set? It’s easy to find spooky stickers this time of year, and kids will have a blast finding a place to use them.
A Perfect Night to Glow in the Dark
Necklaces, glow sticks, accessories – there are tons of fun glow-in-the-dark toys and objects you can find for kids. The best part is it also makes them easier to see and keep track of in the dark.
Another fun alternative to sugary candy is art supplies. You can get kids pencils, small boxes of crayons, small activity books, or other creative outlets that would be a great option for kids.
Kids Still Need Hydration on Halloween Night
The ADA also recommends that if kids are eating candy that they should also be drinking fluoridated water. Help your trick-or-treaters rinse out their mouths after their snacks by providing them with plenty of water instead of other beverages, especially those with added sugars like juices or sodas.
Toothbrushes and Floss
Sometimes it’s better not to beat around the bush. Find your kids some fun-colored toothbrushes and make sure they have a small, travel-size floss container. The ADA recommends brushing and flossing twice a day, so make sure your kids are prepared and know the importance of developing good habits!
Don’t spend too much time and energy worrying about the potentially harmful side effects of Halloween on your kids’ dental health. According to the ADA, even most dentists give out candy for Halloween! Do try to avoid candy that stays in the mouth too long as prolonged exposure to sugar in the mouth increases the risk for tooth decay, but otherwise, let your kids have a few treats as a snack after a meal. The important things to remember is to make sure you and your kids have a plan to keep the candy in moderation, brush and floss twice a day, and to drink plenty of water.