This Halloween many children will be exposed to a bounty of toffee, suckers, gum, liquorice, chocolate and more. While these tempting treats are sure to delight, too much of a good thing can have a negative impact on their dental health and overall health.
"Halloween is a perfect time for parents to reinforce healthy eating and proper dental health care habits," said Dr. Hank Klein president of the B.C. Dental Association (BCDA). "With all the parties and events, there is potential to lose sight of the "treat" aspect of Halloween and over indulge - for all of us."
The BCDA encourages the following tips for a healthier Halloween:
What's good for the body is good for the teeth. There have been numerous reports on the increasing rates of type II diabetes among young children and adults. Excess sugar in the diet is a key culprit and it is also a key culprit for increased dental disease. Limiting foods and drinks high in sugar is good for your teeth and your body.
Change up what you hand out: Temporary tattoos, stickers and pencils are just some of the options to hand out as an alternative to candy.
Select the best of the worst: Not all candy is created equal. Limit sticky candy, including toffee and hard candy, such as suckers as they tend to stay in the mouth longer and can also cause chips and damage braces, fillings or other dental work. Plain chocolate or sugar-free gum are better options.
Eliminate constant snacking: Restrict treats to mealtimes as children (and adults) are most prone to cavities when they graze on sugary food and drinks throughout the day.
Divide and conquer: Sift through your child's Halloween 'bounty' and help them to remove the less healthy options.
Reinforce the importance of regular brushing and flossing: With extra sugar in the diet,
brushing after breakfast, and especially before bedtime is a must! Provide supervision with younger children to make sure the job is done properly with a focus on the gum line, where decay often starts. Visit the BCDA website for tooth brushing tips: www.bcdental.org
Talk to your dentist: Parents should always speak to their dentist if they have any concerns about their child's dental health.