A girl and mom with the Halloween candy

How To Prevent Cavities From Halloween Candy

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Halloween is the scariest holiday—for your teeth. With all that candy, we might as well call October 31st "National Tooth Decay Day." But it's a great opportunity to teach kids about the importance of healthy teeth and making healthy choices. Here, we've got some fun, easy ways to prevent cavities for kids, and reduce the inevitable sugar rush.

Even a thrilling holiday like Halloween can be a learning opportunity for your kids. Preventing cavities from candy may not be as fun as eating it, but your child will be grateful not to need fillings later. Get ahead of the game with these healthy habit-building tricks, and they'll enjoy their treats responsibly.

Brush Your Sweet Tooth

We all know that Halloween candy and your teeth don't get along. Proper brushing with toothpaste is essential to preventing tooth decay, so it's vital to get your child into the habit.

How to get a kid excited about brushing their teeth? Try dropping a brand-new toothbrush into your child's Halloween treat bucket, along with some floss. Make brushing and caring for their teeth feel fun instead of a chore they have to do.

Make sure your child brushes and flosses their teeth after indulging in Halloween treats—remember, candy can easily get stuck between teeth. With the holiday, this might be a good time to brush up on proper brushing techniques so you can teach your kid how to move the brush back and forth against their teeth and gums with short, gentle strokes and how to place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle towards the gumline.

Naturally, younger children will need your help to brush and floss thoroughly, so try to make it fun to do it together!

Make a Plan Before the Fun Begins

Before the Halloween festivities begin, make a plan with your child—before their trick-or-treat bucket is brimming with candy. It can help to give your child options and let them choose.

Would they like to keep the candy and enjoy it gradually? Or trade their Halloween candy for a sugar-free reward, like a new toy they've been eyeing? Give your child a small trick-or-treat bag, and limit the number of houses you visit while trick-or-treating. If they don't get an overwhelming amount of candy to begin with, they can enjoy the treats reasonably without feeling deprived.

Whatever you decide, the important thing is to make the rules before the Halloween excitement takes over. You may have to remind them of the rules with younger children as you go along, so be ready to repeat the conversation a few times.

Control How Much Candy Kids Consume

You can let your child enjoy the fun of trick-or-treating without giving them free rein to eat their fill of sugar. Try a candy swap: give them something they want even more than candy in exchange for the candy they get trick-or-treating, such as a new toy they've been wanting or a fun activity they like to do.

A swap has the bonus of your child experiencing what it's like to earn a reward, with the candy standing in for currency. It doesn't have to be all at once—you can let them have their candy, but stretch it out over time. For example, allow them to pick one piece of Halloween candy a day, and present alternatives, such as to trade the candy for something else like a sticker.

It may take a bit of planning, but any of these tips can make Halloween less scary for you as a parent who cares about your child's dental health. Try to think of it as a teachable moment and as a bonding experience that's even more meaningful than trick-or-treating. And along the way, remember you're setting up your kid for a future of healthy choices.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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