One group of healthcare professionals in particular has some ideas on the subject of the annual festival of Trick or Treating adventures. What do dentists think of Halloween?
Dental Care Tips from Dentists for Halloween
Dentists are people too! They remember all the fun that came with Halloween and the creative expression that comes from being someone else for a night. That’s why bodies like the Canadian Dental Association put together guidelines every year to help kids enjoy Halloween treats, while minimizing the potential for damage that can come from overindulgence.
It’s important to keep in mind that the surfaces of children’s teeth are much softer and less durable than those of adult teeth. This leaves kids more vulnerable to the effects of sugar and ultimately more susceptible to tooth decay. You can help by implementing a few steps to keep teeth clean and safe this year.
Post-Halloween dental care tips that dentists and dental insurance companies approve include:
- Setting limits on sugary treats: It’s amazing how much candy kids can collect in a short period of time on Halloween! Remember, they don’t have to eat it all at once. A simple limit on treats per day can help keep things in check. A little piece or two with lunch or after dinner is enough to satisfy a sweet tooth without going overboard.
- Wash down candy with water: A quick drink of water after a sweet snack can help rinse away sugar so it doesn’t sit on the surface of the teeth and cause damage.
- Say no to hard candy: When it comes to tooth damage from sugary treats, not all candies are created equal. Caramel and other sticky candies are thought to be the worst offenders, but it turns out that hard candies that children suck on for a long time can be more harmful something that’s eaten more quickly.
- Pay extra attention to dental care routines: Children should be getting help with brushing until about the age of seven or eight, but even older kids could probably use some extra reminders when Halloween season is nigh. Consider asking your dentist for some “disclosing tablets”to help highlight areas that might be getting missed.
None of these tips on their own will undo the damage that can come from too much sugar and improper oral hygiene on a long-term basis, but Halloween candy only lasts so long. Do what you can to set appropriate limits and set a good example for children, and have fun while doing it!
How to Combat the Effects of Halloween Treats
It’s more than just oral health to keep in mind when evaluating the threat posed by too much candy at once. Despite awareness campaigns designed to help combat it, rates of childhood obesity in Canada and the U.S. remain incredibly high for today’s kids, much higher than they were just a few decades ago. Of course Halloween candy isn’t to blame for this epidemic, but it does contribute to a culture of indulgence when it comes to sugary treats.
Collectively, healthcare professionals and health and dental insurance providers are concerned about the long-term effects of too much sugar on our children. When coupled with fears of cross-contamination for children with food allergies and sensitivities, an innocent night of fun becomes an occasion that is fraught with anxiety for all involved.
One movement, the Teal Pumpkin Project, is actively working to encourage people to distribute non-candy treats on Halloween night. By replacing even some of the candy ordinarily received on Halloween with stickers, pencils or other fun items, the risks that are associated with too much candy can be reduced.
Talk to your Dentist
Most of the concerns surrounding Halloween boil down to parenting decisions that are the domain of individual families. If you’re worried about how Halloween candy will affect your child’s oral health, you can set limits on the number and nature of treats your child can have after Trick or Treating. For guidance on what constitutes reasonable consumption of Halloween candy, speak to your dentist.
Getting the opinion of a trusted dental care team can be invaluable for the long-term care of your children’s teeth, and routine checkups will be easier to keep up with when you have dental insurance benefits to help offset the cost of oral healthcare visits. If you need help choosing the right health and dental insurance policy for your family, contact us today. Our knowledgeable customer service representatives are here to help answer all your questions.