Undoubtedly, candy will come home in classroom party goody bags and fall festival take-home treats. Add plain old trick-or-treating, and it’s no wonder a child’s excessive exposure to sugar can be a common result. It’s definitely a problem every parent faces and finding that balance between children being healthy and at the same time having fun and enjoying Halloween is a tough balancing act.
The process by which sugary snacks can cause cavities is as follows. Bacteria that live in a child's mouth feed on sugars and produce acids. These acids will demineralize or break down the tooth structure, resulting in decay. Generally speaking the longer the exposure to sugary materials, the more extensive the decay. The frequency of sugar consumption is much more critical than the amount.
Prevention starts with that well-known word that is easy to say but more difficult to implement: moderation. However moderation can be difficult to enforce when a full Halloween bag lurks on top of the refrigerator. But protecting your children’s teeth from the onslaught of sugar is another important consideration for parents.
In the days following Halloween, it is recommended to ensure that your child eats a full plate of balanced and healthy foods before adding a sugary treat. Don’t buy Halloween candy too far in advance to avoid the temptation for children (and adults) to get a head start on the splurge. Try to ensure children eat a good, hearty meal before trick-or-treating so there will be less temptation to gorge on candy. Encourage kids to eat a set amount of candy in one sitting immediately followed by a thorough tooth-brushing, or at least a glass of water. Promote good oral health care habits year-round to your children by encouraging twice daily brushing with fluoridated toothpaste, flossing and getting regular dental checkups.