At Copperfield Dentistry, we love celebrating Halloween! If you were in the office last year on Halloween, you couldn’t help but notice our team’s awesome costumes! We’re sure to impress this year too. And we love seeing our patients come in dressed up. Many times, we get on the subject of candy (we like it, too!), and we get a lot of questions about healthy Halloween treats. In Houston, our team is here to help with any of your dental-related nutritional questions.
Skip These Treats In Disguise – They’re Tricks!
Even though our job is to keep teeth healthy, we love the occasional sweets. It’s even harder to avoid them when you buy them for trick-or-treaters or when your kids come home with pounds of sweets that are just sitting there, waiting for you to dig into!
Whether you’re buying or helping your kiddos sort through their endless piles of candy, you might consider keeping these treats off limits:
- Hard candy – think suckers, Jolly Ranchers, jawbreakers (there’s a reason it’s called “jawbreaker”!)
- Chewy candy – think caramels, fruit chews
- Sticky candy – think gum, gummies, and anything you wouldn’t want to get stuck anywhere in your house or on clothes
- Sour/tart/acidic candy – think anything with those words in it, like sour gummies
Hard candy, of course, is notorious for cracking, chipping, and breaking teeth. We don’t want you or your kid to spend Halloween night in pain or calling us about an emergency! We’ve seen more dental problems than you can imagine due to hard candy, so it may be best to just throw it out. There’s sure to be plenty of candy left anyway!
Regarding sticky or chewy candy, those sugars stay stuck on teeth, where bacteria uses them as a food source. Acid is created from that process, and it eats away at tooth enamel. Because children’s enamel is still developing, they are more prone to cavities. Obviously, acidic candy can be even worse for teeth. On top of that, if your kid has fillings, it’s even possible for them to come loose with certain chewy candies.
Save These “Sometimes” Treats
Not all treats are terrible for teeth. There are some good ones you can purchase at the store for kids visiting your home or ones that will end up in your kids’ candy bags. They include:
- Snack-sized portions of crackers, pretzels, tortilla chips, and fat-free popcorn
- Snack-sized portions of trail mix (careful for nut allergies for anything, of course)
- Individual packs of graham crackers or animal crackers
- Real fruit juice boxes
- Organic fruit leather
- Peanut butter cups
- Milk chocolate bars
- Chocolate raisins or nuts
- Yogurt raisins or nuts
These are much better choices for your teeth and body. Just keep in mind that foods like crackers contain a lot of starches that get stuck in teeth. As long as your kids drink water after eating these and brush and floss at night, you can feel much better about their smiles!
Savor These Smile-Friendly Sweets
There are some treats you don’t have to limit for your kids or yourself. You may also consider picking these up at the store as healthy Halloween treats:
- Small apples
- Bananas (not brown – kids won’t eat them; stick Halloween stickers on them if you want)
- Dark chocolate (can give with bananas for melting and eating them together)
- Sugarless gum (xylitol is a dental-friendly sweetener)
- Individual packs of nuts or peanut butter (again, watch for allergies)
Skip The Sweets With Non-Candy Treats
No one says you have to buy candy or sweets for Halloween. If you want to please kids who will already have tons of sweets, consider these non-candy Halloween alternatives. Most can be purchased at dollar or discount stores, at party stores, or online:
- Halloween tattoos
- Arts like mini drawing pads, crayons, stencils, pencils, erasers, stamps, and coloring/activity books
- Mini games, puzzles, and packs of cards
- Mini clay or Play-Doh
- Halloween jewelry (like spider rings)
- Light-up or glow jewelry
- Glow sticks
- Balls and other small toys
- Vampire teeth
- Fake mustaches
Smile Bright With These Tooth Tips & Tricks
Whether your kids eat chewy candy or apples, keep in mind these tips and tricks to help keep their teeth healthy. These can apply all the time, not just during Halloween.
- Make sure your kids drink plenty of water throughout the day. Show them how to swish water in their mouth to help get the sugars and starches off their teeth after eating any snacks or treats.
- Keep an eye on them especially Halloween night and several nights after to make sure they brush and floss well. (No need to hover – just to be sure!)
- Set a limit for how often they can get candy from their candy bag or how many pieces they can have a day. It helps to discuss this beforehand.
- Decide if you’ll be throwing out all the candy after a certain period of time.
- Ask us about home fluoride rinses to give their tooth enamel extra protection. We can also provide fluoride and sealants at their regular checkups to prevent decay, especially on those vulnerable back teeth with all the pits and grooves.
You don’t have to make your kids feel like they’re being lectured when you set limits like this. Consider taking a fun, informative approach like the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry does. And start before Halloween, asking questions to get them thinking. You can even give your kids these coloring print-offs from the AAPD to help!
See Us Regularly For Maintaining Their Sweet Smiles
We hope you and your family enjoy Halloween this year with your healthy Halloween treats and tips to keep your smiles healthy. Drop in on Halloween to set up appointments if you’d like to see our costumes this year! For checkups or helpful dental advice in Houston, call Copperfield Dentistry today at 281-643-0316. You can also request your family’s appointments with Dr. Burch online. In many cases, we can see the whole family at the same time!