Having a Healthy Halloween

October 28, 2011

With Halloween just around the corner, there is a lot preparation to be done. You need to prepare your kids’ costumes, buy candy for trick-or-treaters, and decorate the house. Halloween can be a fun holiday, but it can be a nightmare for one reason — cavities!

Here are some helpful tips to make your Halloween healthier.

Give Out Healthy Treats

Instead of handing out sugar loaded candy, give trick-or-treaters apples, granola bars, pretzels, sugar free gum, and trail mix You can also hand out items like stickers, Halloween pencils, bouncy balls, bubbles, vampire teeth or — our favorite idea — a toothbrush instead of candy. Kids will enjoy the novelty of your treats, and their parents will appreciate your healthy approach to Halloween.

Establish a Candy Consumption Rule

Eating candy is not bad, as long as it’s done in moderation. Instead of letting your kids eat all the candy they want whenever they want, establish rules that outline the amount of candy allowed and the times it can be consumed. For reducing the potential of tooth decay, eat candy in one sitting instead of grazing on it all day long. Choose a time (like after dinner) when your kids can eat their candy, and choose an amount (like 3 or 4 pieces) that you feel is appropriate.

After eating their treats, kids should drink a glass of water, wait about 30 minutes, then brush and floss. Sugars in candy combine with saliva to create an acid. This acid causes tough tooth enamel to soften for  about 30 minutes. By rinsing with water, you’ll reduce the amount of sugar in the mouth and dilute the acid. By waiting 30 minutes before brushing and flossing, you’ll allow tooth enamel to re-harden so that brushing doesn’t further harm enamel. This approach to eating Halloween candy will reduce your children’s chance of cavities and set the foundation for healthy eating habits.

Other Ideas

  • Your kids look up to you, so if they see you eating candy in moderation, they will be more inclined to do the same.
  • Buying back candy from your kids is always a good strategy. Tell them for every 25 pieces of candy they give you,  you’ll give them a quarter or a dollar, depending on how generous you feel. This will help reduce your kid’s Halloween stash and still keep them happy.
  • Feeding your kids before they go trick-or-treating will discourage snacking while they’re out.
  •  Let kids know ahead of time how much candy they are allowed to eat that night and why. This will set healthy parameters for what they can and can’t do, so you won’t have to play the villain.

Dr. Greenfield and our team want you to have a happy and healthy Halloween this year! Call 248-693-6213 and talk to Dr. Greenfield today to learn more about preventing cavities or to schedule a dental cleaning for you and your child. Visit our website www.lkorionfamdent.com to learn more about the services we offer.

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