Booo! Save Your Teeth From Unhealthy Halloween Treats
Now that Halloween is just around the corner, don’t let the sugar play some unwanted tricks on your teeth. Market reports indicate that nearly 25% of annual candy sales are generated during the season and dentists too report an abnormally higher number of dental decay and cavities immediately after Halloween. The sheer variety of candy in the supermarkets is sure to leave you lost for choice. Do you know with all the different types of candies, the type of candies you choose can cause more damage to your teeth.
When choosing which candy to hand out for Halloween and which choices to encourage your kids to make, consider the options listed here.
Option 1 : Non-Food Items
While we know they are not as tasty, non-food toys are one excellent option. These types of treats do not have to be boring! Little kids especially love stickers, bubbles, and glow sticks, just to name a few. Temporary tattoos, Play-Doh, and small toys bought in bulk are other possibilities and these last a lot longer than a snack.
Option 2 : Healthy Snacks
If you are looking for a healthy treat choice on Halloween, there are a couple of possibilities. Pouches of unsweetened apple sauce or no-sugar-added juice boxes are creative alternatives. After all that hard work trick-or-treating, kids may welcome a refreshing drink!
Option 3 : Chocolate Especially Dark Chocolate
Plain dark or milk chocolate is actually not as bad as you might think. While it does contain a lot of sugar, plain chocolate melts easily in the mouth. As a result, it does not stick around as long as other candies and snacks, which is what contributes to the bacterial reaction that causes tooth decay. Similarly nut-filled candies are also a good option as they have a cleaning action and clear away the sugar from the dental surfaces immediately.
While we don’t recommend binging on chocolate, a small amount, followed by a sip of water to help swish it away, is not the worst choice when compared with some other options.
Healthy Tips For All That Halloween Candy You Collect
With all the bags candy that have already been purchased and ready to hit the streets, its only a matter of hours before all this candy will come and go through our front doors. The average American will consume over 3.5 lbs of Halloween candy every year. That’s JUST Halloween Candy!! The Average American will consume over 24 pounds of candy annually. That’s a lot of sugar and cavities waiting to wreak havoc!
Cultivating good habits over time while allowing the occasional treat might be a better strategy than overly restricting kids. Some evidence links overly-restrictive dietary practices to overindulgence. How can you let your kids enjoy Halloween while preventing cavities later on?
Here are a few tips for Halloween and all year long.
Enjoy Halloween treats with meals
When it comes to sweets and your teeth, timing is everything. If you have a little candy with meals (or right afterward), you’ll benefit from the extra saliva your mouth automatically makes while you’re eating a full meal. This helps rinse away leftover bits of candy and the cavity-causing acids produced by bacteria in your mouth.
Skip sticky or sour candies
Avoid hard candy and sticky, gummy sweets that stay in your mouth for a long time. Taffy and caramel are the worst offenders, while lollipops and hard candies are a close second. These sweets are packed with sugar and stick to the surface of your teeth and in between teeth. When it comes to decay and cavities, sugar sticking around is something you want to avoid.
Contrary to popular belief, sour candies are even more dangerous than sugar candies. Sour candies are high in dietary acids that attack the hard, protective coating on your teeth (enamel). It’s a good idea to skip these candies altogether.
A little (dark) chocolate is fine
As sweet treats go, small amounts of chocolate are a decent choice. Chocolate is the most popular kind of Halloween candy and it doesn’t stick to your teeth as readily as other candies. If you like dark chocolate, that’s even better, since there’s less cavity-causing sugar in semisweet and dark chocolate than in milk chocolate.
Don’t keep a big stash of candy on hand
It’s tempting to keep Halloween or other holiday candy around, but your teeth will thank you if you don’t. Have your family pick their favorites and donate the rest. Organizations that send candy to troops overseas, like Operation Gratitude, will be glad to receive your extra supply.
Halloween is a very fun and festive time of year. It’s the time of year that will bring out the kid in all of us. But we should also do our best to protect our teeth. If you can choose the better options on our list to enjoy this Halloween and on other special occasions, then do so and enjoy! But be sure you and your kids continue with good habits, such as brushing twice a day and getting your twice-per-year dental check-up on time! If it’s been a while since your last visit, schedule your cleaning and check-up today!
You’ll find more Halloween health and safety tips here.
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