3 Tricks For Treating Your Child To A Tooth-Healthy Halloween

What with the fun costumes and the promise of nearly unlimited free candy, it's no wonder that Halloween tops many children's lists of favorite holidays. However, it's probably not your child's dentist's favorite holiday. Those bags of candy that your children are so eager to collect can contribute to cavities and tooth decay if you're not careful. How can you give your children a fun Halloween without letting them damage their teeth? Here are a few tips that can help.

Make Sure They Drink Water

Whether they're at home eating candy after trick or treating, or snacking on candy corn at a Halloween party, you don't want your kids chasing down that candy with a cup full of sugary soda or juice. Give them water instead. It will help prevent sticky pieces of candy from hanging on to your child's teeth.

For the best results, give them fluoridated water for an extra tooth-healthy boost. Water from your tap is most likely fluoridated, but if you need bottled water for drinking while you're out, you can choose one that contains fluoride. Bringing bottles of water on your trick-or-treating expeditions can also help prevent dehydration.

Give Them Sugar-Free Gum

Keep your kids from rummaging in their candy bags before you've had a chance to check them over by giving them something else to chew on. Sugar-free gum will keep their mouths busy and satisfy the craving for something sweet long enough for you to finish trick-or-treating and inspect their candy bags for any possible allergens or dangers.

Some parents mistakenly believe that chewing gum is just as bad as chewing on candy, but this is not the case. Sugar-free gum actually helps prevent tooth decay. It's probably the most tooth-healthy thing you can give your child on Halloween night. Just be sure to choose a gum with the ADA (American Dental Association) seal on it. That way, you'll know for sure that it's sugar-free.

Introduce Them To The Switch Witch

So, you've minimized the damage your kids will do to their teeth on Halloween night by giving them water to wash away the candy particles and sugar-free gum to keep them from grazing all night. But what do you do about the mountain of candy that they've collected by the end of the night? You'd have to let them eat candy every day for weeks to get rid of it all, and that certainly won't be good for their teeth.

The answer is the Switch Witch, and it's a great way to get your kids to willingly give up the rest of their candy. This is how it works: after you've arrived home with your bags of candy and inspected the loot for anything questionable, you let the kids pick out the pieces they want most. Give them a limit – say 10 or 15 pieces of candy, any kind that they want. They get to eat that, and then leave the rest of the candy out for the Switch Witch. The Switch Witch comes at night when they're sleeping, takes away the candy, and replaces it with a new toy.

All you have to do is make sure that you have a toy on hand for the Switch Witch to leave and figure out something to do with the candy she takes. You can always donate unopened candy to a food bank if you can't stand the idea of throwing it all away.

Halloween may be a night of frights, but there's no reason that you need to fear tooth decay. Between these tricks and a good regular oral hygiene routine, your child's teeth should be perfectly safe. Contact your dentist office for more information.