Every Halloween my patients and friends are convinced that I’m going to be Scrooge and forbid candy. However, I like to use Halloween as a wonderful way to discuss healthy eating choices and moderation with our patients.
It’s unrealistic to believe that the average child isn’t going to eat candy on Halloween. And to forbid it just sets you all up for failure. Instead, speak with your children (and yourself, since you know where the Halloween candy is hidden!) about the choices they make and the responsibilities they have when they eat candy:
- Sticky candies are worse for your teeth than a piece of chocolate that will melt away quickly.
- Candy sticks in the grooves of teeth and feeds the bacteria that cause cavities.
- Brushing after eating candy helps to limit the sugar in your mouth. If you can’t brush, chew some sugar free gum or rinse with water.
- The sugar in candy is also bad for our body’s overall health and leads to inflammation in the body.
- Look for candies and mints with Xylitol, a natural, anti cavity sugar replacement.
This Halloween season, veer away from the sticky, sweet candies (you know the ones that pulled out your co-worker’s cap last Halloween?) or hard candies that will stay in your mouth for a long time. Why not try to replace some of the candy with healthy snacks, like peanut butter on an apple or carrots with some hummus? It definitely takes a bit more thought to put together healthy snacks, but the payoff of cavity free teeth is worth it!