young girl and boy in costumes for halloween

Halloween is a favorite holiday among kids, and it’s obvious why. Dressing up like a favorite character and coming home at the end of the night with a sack full of candy? It’s every kid’s dream! But all that candy isn’t good for their teeth. Don’t despair, though; it’s still possible to help your child have a healthy Halloween! Here are some helpful tips that will allow your child to enjoy Halloween and also stay cavity-free.

Quality Over Quantity!

Kids need to be kids! It is unrealistic to think that your kid can enjoy Halloween, or any other holiday associated with tasty treats, without having candy or sweets. Here is the secret to avoiding cavities during holidays like Halloween: allow your child to enjoy their Halloween candy during Halloween, but once Halloween is over the candy needs to go! Occasional grazing on candy throughout the day over a few weeks can lead to tooth decay. Let them have their fun and then toss the candy.

Tooth-Friendly Food Alternatives

Candy is packed with sugar, which isn’t good for children’s health or smiles. Instead of stuffing the neighborhood kids’ candy buckets with candy corn, chocolate bars, and boxes of Dots that always get sorted out of their stash anyway, opt for some tooth-friendly alternatives.

Sugar-free gum is a great option because it has a sweet flavor but doesn’t contain bacteria-producing sugars of other candies. In fact, it’s been shown to even fight off cavities! Also encourage your child to drink water when snacking on their Halloween treats. This will aid in washing away any candy stuck to the teeth.

Just remember that a little bit of candy is okay as long as your child brushes her teeth after. Don’t let the sugars sit on her teeth overnight; this just allows the teeth to becoming a breeding ground for bacteria.

Fun & Games

Toys are always a great alternative to candy. Little kids love temporary tattoos or stickers of their favorite cartoon characters. Bubbles and glow sticks are always fun, especially if the kids still have more trick-or-treating to do. You can find mini containers of play dough. Small notebooks and colorful pens are excellent for the child who seems to always have a thought to write down or a picture to draw. Our personal favorite food alternatives are toothbrushes and travel size toothpaste!

Tell the Neighborhood

There’s a relatively new initiative encouraging households with candy alternatives to let the neighborhood know. The Teal Pumpkin Project® was started to create awareness for food allergies and give parents of children with food allergies the confidence to let their child participate in trick-or-treating. It’s easy to participate! Just stock your bowl with non-food items to hand out and place a teal pumpkin out front (you can easily paint a real or plastic pumpkin). You can also hang a sign explaining the initiative to neighbors, which you can find on their website.

Candy Buy Back

If your child does come home with a bucket of candy, let them have a few of their favorite pieces and then send the rest to a buyback program. In exchange for their candy (which they send off to U.S. Military troops or other groups), these programs give your child healthy food alternatives, toys, coupons, or even cash. You can find area buyback programs online.

Even if your child indulges a bit too much in their Halloween candy, you can still protect their teeth. Make sure to keep up with routine appointments at Bright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry. Our team provides comprehensive pediatric dental care, and we can help your child maintain a healthy, beautiful smile. Call today or request an appointment online. We look forward to seeing your child’s smile!