Child in dragon costume for Halloween

Looking for a fun and cavity-free Halloween for your child? Healthy smiles are possible with a little advance planning and guidance.

No one wants to take the “treat” out of trick-or-treating but Halloween treats can increase the risk of cavities. A little advance planning and guidance can help your child have a cavity-free Halloween.

The problem

When we consume sugary foods or drinks, the germs in dental plaque mix with the sugars to make a mild acid. This acid attacks tooth enamel, the hard outer layer of teeth. If these germs are not removed over time, the enamel becomes soft and a cavity forms. Strengthen tooth enamel every day by brushing with fluoride toothpaste.

How much is too much?

The damage to teeth depends on how long sugar stays in the mouth. In other words, the longer and more often sugar touches the teeth, the more damage it can do. Careful timing of treats and good oral hygiene habits will help.

Plan ahead

Before heading out, talk with your kids about how much trick-or-treating is enough and how much candy will be eaten when returning back home. Use a smaller trick-or-treat bag and set a treats-per-day limit.

Set a treat time

Treats are best enjoyed after a healthy meal or as part of a snack. If this isn’t possible, encourage children to swish and drink plenty of water after eating a treat to help remove the sugar and acids from their teeth. Eating a piece of hard cheese after a sugary treat can also scare away the cavity germs.

Skip the non-favourites

Remove those treats that are less tooth-friendly (lollipops and other hard candies that stay in the mouth for a long time, and sticky or chewy candies that stick to teeth). Sugarless gum, chocolate and powdery candies that dissolve more quickly in the mouth are less harmful to teeth.

Keep brushing

Help your child to brush either before or after eating candy. Be sure your child doesn’t go to bed without brushing; cavity germs are particularly active at night.

Have fun

Besides candy, spending family time being active also makes Halloween exciting; attending community and neighbourhood events is part of the fun. Children also enjoy receiving small toys, stickers, temporary tattoos or glow sticks for treats.

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