Some sources would recommend that parents take all the candy their children collect during trick-or-treating and replace them with healthier snacks. This is just not feasible for many families. Most children look forward to trick-or-treating and really enjoy visiting their friends and neighbors’ homes to gather candy. The highlight of the night is to return home and go through their haul to see what kind of goodies they have for the night. One dental tip during Halloween is for parents to also go through the candy. They should get rid of any treat that looks like it has been tampered with or opened or just otherwise makes them suspicious. While going through the candy, they might consider taking away most of the sticky snacks, like gummy bears or caramels or taffy and hard candies. The sticky candies coat the teeth and are very hard for saliva to wash off. This can damage the surface of the tooth. Also, because hard candy sits in the mouth and dissolves they provide an almost constant flow of sugar to the mouth during that process.
Another good dental tip is for parents to limit the amount of candy their children eat on a daily basis. Candy should be a treat and not a staple. This means that only one or two pieces should be eaten, preferably at meal times so they are accompanied with healthier foods. Also, if the candy consumption is not a regular thing for the child then something else sugary should be removed from their diet during this time. For example, if the child usually has a juice drink, soda or sports drink then parents should consider switching those drinks to water while the Halloween candy is a part of their diet.
As always, good dental hygiene should be followed. Trick-or-treaters should continue to brush their teeth at least twice a day and use floss and mouthwash. Following these dental tips during and after Halloween could help prevent any extra cavities from forming.
Dr. Hazim is a member of the American Dental Association and the Texas Dental Association. A graduate of Loyola University, Dr. Hazim has undergone continuing education at the Pankey Institute and has received accreditation from the Western Regional Examining Board.