Have you finished putting up the fall or Halloween decorations yet? Most of us have, because we love this time of year and all that comes with it! We also love a good reason to celebrate. A year ago, Dr. Ahmad joined Dr. Crocker and our team, so we’re excited to celebrate a wonderful year of her serving our patients and improving their smiles. Since she’s been here, we’ve learned that Dr. Ahmad has a sweet tooth, so Halloween is a great excuse for her – and all of us, really – to indulge in our sweet side a bit.
Even so, we know that there are some not-so-great Halloween treats and some healthier Halloween treats to enjoy. We want to share some of those with you today so you can help your kids make wiser choices and ultimately, better protect their smiles. If you’re passing out candy, feel free to bookmark this page and pull it up when you go out to shop for trick-or-treaters.
For more dental tips, call 803-636-8683 today.
These Ghastly Goodies Can Help Create Cavities
We all love a good, chewy, buttery caramel. The problem is, so do bacteria in our mouths. Here are some candies that are particularly unfriendly to teeth:
- Hard candy
- Chewy candy
- Sticky candy
- Sour candy
When sticky or chewy sweets stay stuck on teeth, bacteria have more time to feed off them. That feeding process creates acids, which is bad news for tooth enamel, especially for young children whose enamel may be weaker than that of adults. Acidic candy creates the same problem for enamel. When the acid does enough damage to enamel – which is possible after eating this kind of candy every day and not brushing or flossing great like kids tend to do – it creates cavities, or holes in teeth.
Sucking on hard candy also gives bacteria more time to do damage. That’s because kids suck on it, meaning the sugars are coating their teeth that whole time. Beyond that, it can crack or break teeth or restorations. We don’t want any dental emergencies for your family on Halloween!
These Spooktacular Snacks Can Be Tempting
Without the high sugar and acid content, these treats are more friendly to smiles. Feel free to keep these in your kids’ bags after helping them sort their Halloween goodies. Still, some like fruit contain acid, and others like crackers are high in starches, which love to get stuck in grooves of teeth. So moderation and keeping up with home oral health habits is the key to enjoying these.
Here are a few ideas (with anything, be sure to consider any allergies):
- Milk chocolate (solid, nuts/fruits, peanut butter)
- Citrus like tangerines
- Juice boxes (100% fruit)
- Snack packs of crackers, popcorn, pretzels, healthier chips
- Snack packs of trail mix
- Raisins, other dried fruit
- Fruit leather
- Small cereal boxes (check sugar content)
- Yogurt/chocolate raisins or nuts
These Tasty Treats Are Never Frightening
Whether you’re buying for trick-or-treaters or going through your children’s enormous amounts of sweets, there are some healthier Halloween treats you can feel confident about giving out or letting your kids munch on. Here are a few:
- Dark chocolate (solid, nuts), which contains antioxidants
- Apples, which may be good for teeth
- Nuts like almonds, which also may be healthy for teeth
- Snack-size peanut butter packs
- Sugarless gum, which can help fight cavities if made with xylitol
Want to skip snacks and treats altogether? Try some of these non-candy Halloween ideas, which you can easily find at online or local discount, dollar, or party stores:
- Small toys like cars and Slinkies
- Fake moustaches
- Stamps and stencils
- Pencils, erasers, small drawing pads, crayons, sidewalk chalk, etc.
- Molding clay/Play-Doh
- Glow sticks
- Jewelry (glow and light up are always welcomed)
- Lip balm
- Removable tattoos
- Small puzzles, games
These Tricks Will Help Keep Creepy Cavities Away
If your kids have free reign over their candy bags or if you’ve helped toss out some of the unhealthy options, here are some oral health tips to help keep their smiles cavity-free. These apply all year, but particularly when your kids are eating treats every day. We recommend making a plan with your kids first, and talking with them about good oral health choices. These Mouth Monster coloring pages are a great place to start.
- Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste (wait at least 30 minutes after eating acidic candy).
- Floss daily.
- Rinse with water or drink water after eating treats.
- Limit how many sweets they can have a day (keep the bag for small children).
- Decide what time they can enjoy their treats.
- Get rid of the candy, or at least some of the unhealthy options, after so long.
- Swap your kids’ unhealthy items with fun non-candy items from the list above.
- Ask our All Smiles Dental team about fluoride or sealants for longer-term protection against decay at your child’s next checkup.
Haven’t scheduled their next dental checkup yet? You can do it right now by calling 803-636-8683 or using our online form. In the meantime, we hope you’ve gotten some inspiration for healthier Halloween treats in Lexington, SC. We wish your family happy and healthy smiles this Halloween and beyond!