Switch it up: Instead of handing out candy bars and hard sweets, maybe think about switching it up. While delicious healthy snacks, like fruits, would be the best option, they tend to spoil quickly and won't be the most exciting treat for the kids. A good option to hand out is sugarless gum. Sugarless gum can help prevent cavities because it helps create more saliva, which in turn helps clean the teeth. It also helps curb the craving for sweets!
Sugarless gum is also great at destroying the bacteria that is housed in plaque. This helps keep certain acids off your children's teeth, which saves their enamel.
Work Together: Talk to your neighbors and form a plan to hand out less detrimental sweets to the kids. If you can get a lot of the parents on the same page, you'll make a big impact on everyone's dental health- not just your own kids.
Moderate the Intake: Eating sweets in moderation is nothing to be ashamed of. (after all, they are delicious!) However, Halloween perpetuates a stigma of excess, as once your children get home from collecting their tasty treats; they dive right in with reckless abandon. Many parents know of the dreaded pile of wrappers sitting on their floor after a round of trick or treating.
Moderation is key after Halloween. If your children gorge on their candy right when they get home, they increase their chances of sticky sweets getting stuck and creating problems. If you help your kids regulate their candy intake, you can impart important dental health lessons while also helping care for their general health.
A good plan is to take control of your children's candy and use it as part of their weekly allowance. Have them either help with chores or reward them for good deeds or for proper dental brushing after eating. This will not only help moderate their sugar intake, but also help instill good work ethic and your values.
One last key tip is to be proactive about regular dental care during the holidays (this also goes for all holidays). Kids commonly eat candy before bed and even one night without a good brushing can do damage to the teeth. Our checklist, "Top 10 Habits Parents Need to Know to Help Protect Your Children against Cavities" will offer some great advice on proper dental care to keep in mind over the holidays.
One last tip: make sure you children have sealants on their permanent molars! Sealants are a plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of their molars to protect the grooves from harboring plaque, candy or other food particles that brushing doesn't rid. They are easy to apply and may save you money in the long run.