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Oral Health Buzz

Enjoy Halloween Candy Responsibly and Avoid Tummy Aches and Cavities

Angela Tague

Overstuffed trick-or-treat bags make children smile and parents cringe. This Halloween, do not let the thought of tummy aches and future cavities ruin the holiday. Halloween candy is a treat, not a meal, so you must avoid letting your children gorge themselves on sweets this season.

Limit Candy Consumption

After carefully examining the Halloween haul and removing any opened or damaged candy, ask the children to help you sort the sweets. Make piles based on the type of candy: chocolates, gummies, hard candies, fruit-flavored chews and caramels.

Next, use small snack-size sandwich bags to create candy rations. Include one piece of candy from each category in each bag, then decide if your child gets one bag each day, every other day or weekly. Stash the excess candy in the freezer to keep it fresh.

Make Snacking Healthier

When it is time to indulge, enforce a healthy-eating rule. Permit candy consumption only at mealtime when saliva production helps to rinse food particles from teeth, suggests the American Dental Association.

For each bite of candy, you should require your child also to have a piece of produce or glass of water. For example, when your son is snacking on a miniature chocolate candy bar, offer him apple slices or grapes, which taste great with chocolate. If he is having a lollipop, have him drink a bottle of water while enjoying the candy to periodically rinse sugar from his teeth.

Do a Trade

If your little one collected more than he or she should eat in the span of a month or so, offer to make a few trades. Let the child "buy" other items, such as toys or tickets for an outing, by using the candy as currency. Try trading a pound of candy for movie passes or a new doll. You will be amazed at how quickly your child forgets about the sugary treats. Unwanted candy can be placed in the freezer and used as mix-ins when making cookies or bars for an upcoming holiday gathering.

Halloween candy does not have to cause a headache, cavities or a tummy ache. Remember to end each day by helping your child brush his or her teeth to remove sugary build-up and food acids. Try Colgate's 2 in 1 Toothpaste & Mouthwash, Colgate for Kids Fruit Flavored Anti-Cavity Fluoride Toothpaste in watermelon or strawberry flavors. Always manage your child's snacking through portion control and healthy eating practices so everyone has a happy Halloween.

Learn more about making Halloween fun and safe in the Colgate Oral Care resources.

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