2 Tips To Prevent Tooth Decay In Children During A Halloween Filled With Sweet Treats

Halloween season is arriving, but as a parent, you may be tempted to call it "cavity season." While keeping your child's teeth cavity-free during a season filled with sweet treats may sound difficult, it can be done without depriving your child completely of their favorite candies. Follow these three tips to help keep your child's next dental check-up cavity-free, even when you think the odds are stacked against it.

1. Trick-or-Treat Tactics

If your community has a local trick-or-treat evening, then the large sack of candy your child accumulates during this evening may make your teeth hurt when you just look at it. However, you don't have to deprive your child of this fun night when you make rules on how the candy will be enjoyed afterward.

If you let small children keep their candy in their bedroom, then they may lead to all-day snacking, which is what needs to be avoided. Make sure to take control of the sack after it is collected, and most children will not complain if you make this a rule starting their very first Halloween.

Once you have the candy, you can choose the rationing option that fits best with your family schedule:

  1. Allow one or two pieces each day after dinner. This technique will help limit the sugary residue on your child's teeth to one time per day just an hour or two before they brush. If flossing is every skipped, make sure to enforce flossing rules (every night) strictly after candy consumption.
  2. Couple candy with after-school snacks. If your child typically eats a healthy snack after school, then the candy can be served after the snack instead. However, even if your child doesn't typically brush after this snack (if it is a tooth-friendly treat, like cheese), make sure they add in an extra brushing session on days when candy is consumed.

Although you may be tempted to include your child's Halloween candy in their lunchbox along with their lunch, this is a bad idea. The candy residue will then have several hours to wreak havoc on your child's teeth before they brush again. Even if your child brings a toothbrush to use after lunch, you really never know if they are using it or not or have enough time to brush thoroughly.

2. Handling other Halloween Handouts

Aside from the "big night" when candy is collected from neighbors, your child may have a small seasonal party at school or attend Autumn harvest events where sugary candy apples are served. Other children may also bring their candy hauls to school to share. Even if your child is well-behaved, there is simply no easy or surefire way to tell them to not eat candy when it is offered.

Instead, make a deal with your child that they can participate in these functions and take a sweet from a friend when offered as long as they agree to amp up their oral care during the season. If they typically brush twice-a-day, then make them increase to three for the month. Purchase a bottle of fluoride-filled mouth rinse that they must use after their evening brushing.

You can even raise the stakes and tell them that if they pass their next dental check-up cavity-free, then they will get a reward of that small toy they have had their eye on or a meal at their favorite restaurant.

If Halloween usually leaves your child with tell-tale signs of the season during their next trip to the family dentist in the form of cavities, then you don't have to tell your child that they can't participate in seasonal events due to their past problem. Make this a new season with new dental rules, and you may realize that your child can have fun while keeping their teeth healthy.