Just in case you haven’t noticed, Halloween in Whitby is only a few weeks away. The stores are already full of spooky paraphernalia, and of course, Halloween means masses of candy. If you have kids, no doubt they are looking forward to trick or treating and coming home with a sizable stash of the sweet stuff.
However, when your child has sugary candies, the bacteria found in dental plaque on their tooth surfaces will also feast on these sugars, creating acid that softens and damages tooth enamel. The damage caused to teeth depends on how frequently the teeth come into contact with sugar, so if your child eats candy over a longer period of time, contact increases and so does their risk of cavities.
While it might be impossible to ban candy altogether, some tactics can help to reduce the damage, while still ensuring they have an enjoyable time. Taking a few precautions could help reduce your child’s risk of need a dental filling in Oshawa.
1. Prior to Halloween, have a chat with your child to discuss their expectations. Decide how long they will spend trick or treating, how much candy they can eat on the day, and how many treats they can consume each day.
2. Before they go out trick or treating, make sure they enjoy a healthy balanced meal, including foods that will fill them up, so they are less likely to want too many candies.
3. Use a smaller trick or treat bag, so your kid is more selective about which candies they collect and is more likely only to choose their favourites.
4. Make sure your child knows not to eat any treats before they get home, so you can check their loot is safe to eat, and especially if they have any sensitivities or food allergies. Checking the treats also provides another opportunity to discard any candy they don’t like as much.
5. Encourage them to enjoy their treat after the main meal because this will help to reduce damage to their teeth. The saliva produced during a main meal helps to wash away excess sugars and bacteria. Setting specific times for them to eat their treats helps to reduce frequent snacking which is so bad for teeth.
6. Sticky candies can get stuck in between teeth, so encourage your child to rinse their mouth afterwards with plain water, and make sure they brush and floss half an hour or so after eating. Waiting a little while allows acidity levels in the mouth to normalize, so tooth enamel re-hardens and the overall damage to their teeth is reduced.
7. If your child is currently having orthodontic treatment in Ajax, make sure they stick to candies that melt easily such as chocolate and which won’t damage brackets and wires.
Making Halloween Less About the Candy
Halloween is an excellent opportunity to plan family activities that don’t focus on candy, such as getting outdoors (weather permitting!) or spending time visiting new places. Also, you could try out new Halloween-themed recipes that don’t include sugar and which could become a new family tradition.
You might find other parents are receptive to providing Halloween treats that are not candy, and a visit to the dollar store could be inspirational! Older kids might be less interested in candy anyway and might prefer to trade their collection of the sweet stuff for a new toy or other items on their wish list. The Canadian Dental Association suggests a visit from the “Switch Witch” in mid-November to trade remaining candy for something more wanted.