It’s something kids look forward to all year: Halloween. This spooktacular, fun time involves plenty of ghouls, ghosts, and goblins. One spooky but preventable possibility is being visited by a “Mouth Monster” – tooth decay. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry provides guidelines for which candies should be avoided, as well as the better treat options.
How Parents Can Help Kid Avoid Mouth Monsters
It’s an issue that pops up year after year: What should a parent do about their kids’ Halloween candy? Limit it? Sort it? Be that parent who swaps sweet treats with walnuts and pennies? While every kid wants to rifle through their loot ASAP upon arriving home from a night of trick or treating, as the parent, you can teach your kids which candies should be avoided and which are better treat choices.
What’s a Mouth Monster? Let the American Pediatric Dental Association be your guide with this nifty chart:
- Treats to avoid: These are the dreaded Mouth Monsters, beware! Candies that are chewy and sticky should be limited or avoided, such as gummies, caramels, sour candy, and sugary bubblegum. These sweets get stuck in the grooves and crevices of the teeth, making it harder for saliva to wash them away. Sour candy is highly acidic and can break down tooth enamel.
- Better treat choices: Options that are less sticky and not highly acidic include milk chocolate, pretzels, and crackers. Remember though that a child’s oral health depends less on the food they eat and more on how often they eat specific treats.
- Best treat choices: Healthier treats include dark chocolate and sugar-free gum. In fact, dark chocolate has health benefits such as antioxidants that can inhibit bacteria growth. Sugar-free gum promotes growth of tooth-protecting/non-acidic bacteria to inhibit growth of plaque.
- Non-candy treats: Of course, there are plenty of treats that aren’t sweet! Look for non-food favorites such as temporary tattoos, stickers, and glow sticks to entertain the little ones.
What if My Child Doesn’t Want Sugar-Free Gum and Dark Chocolate?
We understand that most kids aren’t looking forward to these types of treats when all the other goodies in their basket are more enticing. That’s OK! Just remember that your kids should drink plenty of water after eating sugary snacks, as sugar that latches on to teeth promotes tooth decay.
Of course, you should always encourage your kids to brush and floss before they go to bed, and again in the morning. Start talking to your kids about oral hygiene, and teach them about Mouth Monsters. There are even fun art activities on the APA website that your child can color, and then you can share them on the AAPD website!
Do you want to learn more about how to avoid those pesky Mouth Monsters? If your child needs a checkup with a pediatric dentist, give us a call at Adventure Dental and Orthodontics by dialing (661) 276-8755 or contact us online.