Ah, Halloween, every dentist’s least-favorite holiday. We’d love to say that you should skip the Halloween candy completely, but we don’t want to ruin the fun. Instead, here are dentist-approved tips for giving your teeth a safe Halloween.
Avoid hard & sticky candy
Hard candies take forever to melt, which leaves the sugar and acid in your mouth longer. Sticky candies catch and pull at your teeth—little pieces can also get stuck on or between your teeth, creating cavity breeding ground.
Your best options are chocolates, powder candy (likes Pixie Sticks), and sugar-free gum.
Brush & floss regularly
Make sure you keep your usual brushing and flossing schedule—or add to it! With parties and excitement, it can be easy to skip brushing. But if you want to enjoy candy without harming your teeth, you’ve got to brush every day (or twice a day!). Be especially careful about brushing before bed—sleeping with sugar in the mouth creates a huge risk for tooth decay.
Drink lots of (fluoridated) water
After eating candy, drink some water. Bonus points if it’s fluoridated! The extra liquid will help wash sugar and candy pieces out of your teeth. Fluoride helps prevent decay.
While your child might have access to lots of soda at Halloween parties or home, encourage him or her to cut down on sugary drinks around Halloween—the extra candy is enough of a dental onslaught!
Instead of eating up your Halloween stash whenever you feel like it, schedule time for candy. Create a candy bank so you can track how much your kid is eating. Or dole out pieces right before or after meals. Saliva increases when eating, which will help break down the acid and sugar in the candy.
*Retainer tip: If your child eats candy right after a meal, he or she can immediately brush their teeth and put their retainer back in. If your child eats candy throughout the day, he/she might be tempted to leave the retainer out.
Keep a balanced diet
Have a good meal before trick-or-treating—a balanced diet supports dental health. And of course, kids shouldn’t substitute candy for breakfast (or other meals!).
If you need ideas, check out our list of teeth-friendly foods! (Recipes included)
Tips for Braces
Eating candy with braces is more complicated, but most of the same rules apply. Just be more careful about the types of candy you or your child eat. Encourage your child to drink extra water and make sure he or she brushes and flosses often.
- Chocolate & chocolate type bars
- Non-candy treats
- Ice cream/milkshakes
- Gelatin treats