If your kids are trick-or-treating this Halloween or attending school parties and other events, it’s inevitable that they’ll come home with an enormous bag of sugary treats! If you don’t have little ones at home and are giving out treats, you’ll probably be adding to that bag of sweets. While we don’t think it’s reasonable to completely ban sweets, there are some healthy Halloween treats and some tips you can consider before filling up the candy bowl or sorting your kids’ candy.
Read below to find out which treats aren’t so good for smiles and ideas on which ones are better. If you have any questions about oral health in general, feel free to ask by calling 970-689-3282 or talking to us at your next visit.
Toss These Treats That Are Tricks For Teeth!
First, a quick lesson if you aren’t familiar. Tooth decay forms by bacteria feeding on sugars left on teeth. This process creates acid, which, as you can imagine, erodes the tooth surface, or enamel. Because children’s enamel can be weaker than ours, keeping sugars on teeth sets up kids in particular for tooth decay.
Treats that are bad about contributing to the tooth decay process include:
- Sticky or chewy sweets
- Hard sweets
- Sour sweets
Clearly, sticky, chewy candy stays on teeth for hours, which adds up if it’s enjoyed several times a day over weeks. Sour candy contains acid, which we’ve discussed is bad for enamel. And hard candy like lollipops keep sugars in the mouth when they’re sucked instead of chewed. (Though we don’t recommend chewing them, as that can crack or break teeth!)
All in all, it’s best to talk to your kids about limiting or avoiding these types of Halloween candy that are bad for teeth. We also don’t recommend handing them out. But there are other options!
Tolerate These Treats That Don’t Terrify Teeth
Some goodies don’t contain as much sugar or acid, so they’re generally better for teeth. Some do contain acids (from fruit) and carbs that tend to build up on teeth (like pretzels), so moderation and cleaning teeth well is the best policy when enjoying these. For any treats mentioned, always be mindful of allergies.
- Snack packs of crackers, popcorn (not caramel), pretzels, and multigrain chips
- Snack packs of trail mix
- Raisins and other dried fruit
- Fruit leather
- Milk chocolate and chocolate-covered nuts or raisins
- Juice boxes (no added sugar)
- Mandarins, clementines, etc. (like Cuties or Halos)
Try These Treats That Might Treat Teeth
There are some healthy Halloween treats that are not only better for bodies and teeth but perhaps good for them! You don’t have to feel guilty when filling your trick-or-treaters’ bags with these or letting your kids enjoy them:
- Apples – the crunchiness, fiber, and water may help clear oral bacteria
- Dark chocolate – the antioxidants may help prevent bacteria from sticking to teeth and gums
- Sugarless gum – the sweetener xylitol helps prevent cavities
- Packs of peanut butter and almonds – nuts contain calcium that can remineralize tooth enamel
Trade Treats For Treasures
Don’t want to hand out any sweets or treats this year? Want to have something your kids can trade for their “bad” candy? Kids appreciate little treasures like these, which are easy to find online or at party, discount, or dollar stores in bulk:
- Glow sticks
- Pencils and erasers
- Drawing pads/coloring or activity books
- Jewelry (glow, glitter, or light up especially)
- Temporary tattoos
- Lip balm
- Fake mustaches
- Mini Play-Doh containers
Take These Teeth Tips & Tricks To Heart
If your kids are enjoying any treats, here are some great oral health tips that can help prevent cavities. In fact, they apply any time of year. You can even start talking to your kids now about good oral hygiene habits. Try to make it fun and easy, like these AAPD Mouth Monsters coloring pages do.
- Brush twice daily (fluoride toothpaste, two minutes)
- Floss once daily
- Rinse with water after eating
- Get fluoride applications or sealants at the dentist
- Use a fluoride rinse at home if recommended
- Let your kids choose which candy they’ll toss or trade
- Donate or toss all the candy or at least some after so long
- Eat candy only once or twice a day, and a specific number at a specific time
We hope you and yours enjoy some healthy Halloween treats in Fort Collins without sacrificing your smiles. For any smile care you need, including oral health tips, call Five Star Dental FC at 970-689-3282 to request an appointment.