While Halloween is a great holiday for pretending to be someone – or something – else, and gathering lots of tasty treats, it’s not exactly a great holiday for teeth or overall health. That’s obviously because most of the treats that trick-or-treaters bring home are sugar-rich and chewy, which can help lead to tooth decay and the onset of cavities. It’s estimated that the cavities in children are on the rise, and holiday candy is largely to blame for this trend. And that’s not even to mention that the childhood obesity rate is some three times what it is from a generation ago.
Yes, Halloween isn’t exactly the healthiest holiday of the year, but there’s actually a lot that you can do to make sure that your kids still have an enjoyable holiday, but don’t eat their teeth rotten. Here’s a look at some things that you should be aware of in order to have a healthier Halloween – both when it comes to your family and the trick-or-treaters you get in your neighborhood:
Everything in moderation: There’s nothing wrong with indulging in a little bit of candy, or really any junk food. But what’s important is to make sure that it’s done in moderation. So don’t take away your child’s candy after they’re in for the night on Halloween, just be a little more selective about how much they eat. It’s estimated that the average child consumes some 3,500 to 7,000 calories on Halloween night, so consider asking your child to pick out just 3-4 pieces of candy to chow down on after trick-or-treating is through.
Go sugar-free/healthy snacks: While Halloween is synonymous with candy, you don’t necessarily have to hand it out at your door. In fact, many people are now purchasing snacks that are either low on sugar or without any sugar to give to trick-or-treaters. These include the likes of animal crackers, granola bars, cheese crackers, pretzels and trail mix. They’re still tasty treats, but they won’t take their toll on the teeth the same way that sugar-rich candy will.
No candy: Instead of handing out candy, consider handing out something different – like a toy or coins. Pencils, erasers, glow sticks, stickers or quarters all make for great candy alternatives to hand out to trick-or-treaters.
Keep the best, discard the rest: For many kids, it’s the thrill of trick-or-treating and attempting to collect as much candy as possible that’s the real fun on Halloween. Eating the candy, while yummy, can be more of an afterthought to attaining it. On that note, have your child divide up his or her candy into a few different piles when trick or treating is through for the night – a pile with the good stuff (i.e. full-sized candy bars, your child’s favorite sweets, etc.) and a pile that consists of everything else. Keep the good stuff and ensure that your child gradually consumes it in moderation over the next several months. And what to do with everything else? Well, you could throw it away or, better yet, donate it.
Donate candy: This is an option that’s becoming more and more popular in terms of what to do with unwanted candy or leftover candy from what you pass out to trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. And this donated candy goes to a good cause, like senior citizen homes, children’s hospitals, food banks, even overseas to soldiers. Let’s face it, you’re likely to always discard at least some candy on or in the days after Halloween, why not put it toward a good cause?
For more information on having a healthier, tooth-friendly Halloween, contact Lafayette Dental Excellence today.