TRICK OR TEETH!
Who doesn’t love being a kid on Halloween? Trick-or-treating, costume parties, school parades…we all want our kids to have fun on Halloween, but we also want them to be safe and healthy. Too much candy cannot only harm children’s teeth, it can have a negative effect on their overall health. Not taking proper precautions when sending kids out trick-or-treating can also be unwise when it comes to their safety.
Here are some fun Halloween ideas to help keep your children safe and healthy, while allowing them to have a Spooktacular Halloween!
Step 1: Teach Your Children Safety Tips for Trick-or-Treating
- Always go with a buddy (if not with an adult)
- Never go inside a stranger’s house
- Carry a flashlight to see where you’re walking
- Look both ways before crossing the street
- Have a cell phone in case you need to call Mom and Dad
- Wait to examine and eat your candy until you get home and go through it with Mom and Dad
While these tips are primarily applicable to children that you feel comfortable enough to send out with their friends, they are good tips to start teaching littler ones when you go trick-or-treating with them.
Step 2: Go through Candy Bags with Your Children
- Help your children learn what candy is good and what candy is bad for their teeth, and separate them out. If there is a candy they love that is not the best for their teeth, let them have it but teach them the importance of “candy in moderation” when doing so. Learning these lessons early and the reasoning behind them will have them thanking you in the long run.
- Let them pick out good (mostly healthy) candy they want to keep and then donate or freeze the rest. Many charities encourage donations of any kind, including candy! Many dentists offer Halloween Candy Buy Back programs, send our troops a note and a treat via Operation Shoebox, or donate candy to a local shelter or soup kitchen near you. Find a charity near you.
- Instruct children on how and when they should eat their candy:
At treat time: Designate a time in the day when they can have a treat, like during meal times when saliva flow is at a high and can help fight against tooth decay.
While drinking water: Drinking water while eating candy helps to fight against the bacteria that promotes tooth decay.
By rinsing their mouth: Rinse after eating candy and then brush 30 minutes to an hour later to prevent tooth decay.
Step 3: Encourage Children to Maintain Their Normal Dental Routine
Help your children stick to their normal dental routine. Make teeth-brushing fun so they won’t resist brushing. One way to do this is by letting them pick out a fun new toothbrush around Halloween so they’ll get excited about brushing their teeth! Another important aspect of encouraging children to maintain their normal dental routine is to make sure you are scheduling regular dental checkups.
Step 4: Set the Example
Halloween parties are a part of spooky holiday traditions. Whether you’re having one, your child’s class is hosting one, or you are invited to one, try out some of these healthy and fun Halloween recipes everyone will love:
“Candy Corn” Veggie Platter
“Boo” Nana Pops
Spooky Fruit Spider Snack
Cheese Witch Brooms
Jack O’ Lantern Hummus Plate
Mini Spider Sandwiches
Puking Monster Melon
Let Them Have Fun!
Halloween is a fun and exciting time for everyone. And even though this holiday can be risky for your kids’ health and teeth, there are many ways to let them have fun while protecting those precious smiles!