Halloween Candy Survival Guide

halloween-fairyAll year long, kids look forward to the magic and fun of Halloween. Parents enjoy the costumes and trick-or-treating, too, but the thought of all that candy can be troublesome. Whether you raid the candy bags to the benefit of your coworkers, sell the candy at a buyback, or ration it in some other way, much of the sweets will end up with your kids. To help you sort through the Halloween bags with them, here’s a summary of MouthHealthy.org’s rundown of common candies:

Chocolate: Of all the Halloween candies your kids will receive, chocolate is best because it washes off teeth more easily. Choose dark chocolate when possible, as it has less sugar than milk chocolate. Chocolate can also be good for you. Read our article, A Delicious Secret, to find out more.

Sticky and Gummy Candies: “Be picky if it’s sticky,” MouthHealthy advises. We agree. Sticky and gummy candies are harder to remove and could result in cavity-causing bacteria staying on the kids’ teeth longer. [Read more…]

7 Personalized Halloween Treat Bags

Halloween treat bag ideas from AllYou.com.

Halloween treat bag ideas from AllYou.com.

Halloween is a fun time to get creative. If sewing a Halloween costume from scratch is too much, these personalized treat bags are a breeze to create and will give you a chance to get crafty with the kids. If you are throwing a party, these ideas can be customized to create unique party favors. Don’t be afraid to improvise and let your imagination take your treat bag to the next level. [Read more…]

7 Halloween Safety Tips

pumpkinFor many kids, Halloween is one of the best days of the year. Between the festive decorations, the chance to dress up in costume, and of course, trick-or-treating, what’s not to love? Make sure the kids have a fun and safe night with the following tips:

 

  1. Prevent falls. Keep kids injury-free on Halloween with a costume that fits well and doesn’t obstruct their vision. Avoid long gowns they can trip on and masks that fall over their eyes.
  2. Help them be seen. Help your kids stand out when they cross the street. Lighter costumes are preferable, and darker costumes can be brightened by glow sticks or flashlights. You can even place reflective tape or glow-in-the-dark stickers on your child’s clothing or treat bag.
  3. Photo: Rochelle Hartman/CC by 2.0

    Photo: Rochelle Hartman/CC by 2.0

    Reestablish the rules. Kids may think it’s okay to set rules aside amid all the stimulation of Halloween. Before you go out, remind them to keep their eyes on their surroundings, not on their phone screens; to stay on the sidewalks and cross walks; and to look both ways before crossing the street.

  4. Tag along. Kids under 12 need at least one adult to chaperone. Older kids should trick-or-treat in a group and stay in a familiar, designated neighborhood.
  5. Drive safely. If you’re taking the car out on Halloween night, be extra cautious of kids who may be darting excitedly across the street in dark costumes, especially between the hours of 5:30-9:30 p.m.
  6. Avoid separation. Stick together while trick-or-treating–it can be easy to be pulled apart when the sidewalks are crowded and everyone’s wearing a disguise. Before you go out, make sure the kids aren’t wearing their names on clothing or jewelry, as a stranger may pretend to know them. Remind your kids to avoid entering strangers’ homes and cars.
  7. Check their treats. When you get home, check all the little ones’ treats before they eat them. Throw out anything that’s been opened or unwrapped or looks like it’s been tampered with.

[Read more…]

5 Tips to Avoid Halloween Candy Overload

According to Forbes, Americans spent just over $2 billion on Halloween candy last year. That’s over 600 million pounds! The candy we buy is not typically meant for own households, but for other people’s children. However, if your kids are among the over 41 million trick-or-treaters who’ll pound the neighborhood streets come October 31, they’ll still come home with more than enough candy to last a month.

Prolonged exposure to sugar is a big no-no when it comes to the little ones’ dental hygiene—in fact, it’s preferable to eat a large amount of candy at once rather than distributing small amounts repeatedly over a long period. How can you prevent the Halloween candy overload? Here are some ideas: [Read more…]

5 Essential Halloween Tips for Kids with Braces

Pumpkin

Eating hard and sticky foods like candy can damage braces and wires, warns Alameda Pediatric Dentistry’s Cinthia Galvez, RDA. Does that mean kids who wear braces can’t enjoy treats this Halloween?

Dr. Kan recommends getting decked out in costumes, trick-or-treating along the festive neighborhood streets, then bringing all your candy back to Alameda Pediatric Dentistry for the annual buy back. If the little ones must have their fix, here are 5 Halloween tips from our trusted orthodontics team:

  1. Brush your teeth right after eating candy. If you do not have access to a toothbrush, simply rinse your mouth after eating any sweets until you are able to brush.
  2. Remember that braces are bonded to the surface of teeth and can be damaged if that bond is broken. That said, avoid hard candies, including chocolates with nuts. They can break brackets and bend wires.
  3. Avoid candy that’s sticky, such as Starburst, taffy, Tootsie Rolls, and Skittles. They stick to the teeth as you chew, creating tension on the braces and potentially loosening them.
  4. Replace candy with soft sweets like fresh fruits, fruit shakes, or frozen yogurt. If you must, the lesser of all evils would be chocolate (think Hershey’s Kisses), without any nuts, caramel or additional ingredients that would make it hard, sticky or chewy.
  5. Brush at least three times a day for 3 minutes each time!

Want an alternative to passing out candy this Halloween? Here are 20 Alternatives to Sticky Sweets.

October is Orthodontic Health Month! That’s why all our posts this month have been dedicated to the art of wearing braces.

Photo (featured): slgckcg/CC BY 2.0

The Eroding Effects of Sour Candy on Kids’ Teeth

SourcandyThe candy we see on the shelves today isn’t what it used to be. Sour candy, for one, has evolved into more than just a sugary treat, but a game, one that marketing companies are targeting specifically toward children. And the effects of sour candy on kids’ teeth are proving to be particularly harmful.

The idea is to go “extreme,” with brightly colored packages that challenge kids to hold the candy in their mouths for as long as possible as the flavor intensifies from sour to eye watering. Oversized sourballs, candy in the shape of pacifiers, sour sprays, and miniature baby bottles filled with citric acid-laced powder are all the rave. They are also contributing to the growing prevalence of dental erosion. Here’s why: [Read more…]

Mom vs. Candy: 5 Post-Halloween Tips to Beat Dental Decay

The countdown to Halloween has begun. This year, the much-anticipated occasion falls on a school night, but that’s never stopped the ghouls and goblins from filling their sacks with sweets. Get ready moms and dads – it’s time to do some damage control.

Here are 5 helpful tips to minimize the candy craze, sparing the little ones’ teeth from the threat of plaque build-up caused by sugar-feeding bacteria: [Read more…]

Top 5 Halloween Candies to Avoid

Every year on Halloween, the kiddies go door to door for treats and the big pile of candy that ends up at home seems like one big trick. Our advice – don’t let the candy binge last. Chewing lots and lots of sweets one day is better for their teeth than indulging in a few pieces every day for weeks on end.

As you check the candy loot, you’ll do well by removing some of the following tooth-decaying culprits from the stash: [Read more…]

Sacking the Halloween Candy: 20 Alternatives to Sticky Sweets

Choose an alternative to the cavity-causing sweets.

Looking to cut down your child’s sugar consumption? Alameda Pediatric Dentistry’s Dr. Binita Katheria recommends limiting the days when sweets are allowed. Following the advice of Food Rules author, Michael Pollan, Dr. Katheria says, “A good rule I follow is to eat sweets only on the days that begin with the letter S, like Saturday and Sunday.”

But this year, Halloween falls on a Monday and little ones will surely be hankering for their hard-earned candy all week long. According to Dr. Katheria, candy that is sour and sticky is especially bad for teeth since it not only sticks to the tooth, but the acid that makes it sour can weaken the top layer of enamel, making it easier for a cavity to start.

Send the kids glowing into the night.

What to do? One way to help ease the post-Halloween sugar shock is to fill those neighborhood goodie bags with treats that don’t promote tooth decay. Here are 20 alternatives for the Halloween sack that are sure to make the little ghouls and goblins smile: [Read more…]