Cavities and candy collide at Halloween.  Here at Dentistry for Children, as we have said in previous years, we grow concerned every year at this time. However, we love the spirited stories, costumes, decor, and fun that Halloween brings. In fact, we go all out with the decorations and fun factor!

Candy and Cavities Go Hand in Hand.

These Parents Take Pride in Their Son’s Oral Hygiene Report.

You see, we know the painful reality of the October sugar slam on dental health.  And by the time you read this, no doubt, the candy could already be affecting your child’s dental health.

Just because candy is the perfect storm for creating cavities, we don’t recommend you make that stash of Halloween candy forbidden fruit. We love the costumes, stories and spirit of festivity in Halloween. In fact, this year, we celebrated the holiday with a real parade. Yes, we threw candy to the onlookers, but we threw them toothbrushes, too. Check out our FaceBook for some fabulous photos of the event.  The parade was our biggest Halloween Celebration ever!

No Candy Buy-Back at Dentistry for Childdren for 2020

By the way, you might recall that in previous years we have celebrated Halloween with a Candy Buy-Back the week after the holiday, but the parade was our fun event for this year. However, there might be other charities in the area looking for your bags of left-over sweets, even now.

Cavities and Candy:  Dental Lesson Number One–No Fear and Denial

If you just deny Halloween candy to your children, what can go wrong?  Webmd.com stated, “Children get the entirely wrong message — deprivation — and make candy seem even more irresistible, leading to other problems.”

Candy and Cavities Don’t Mean We Can’t Have Fun at Halloween.

They will “steal” treats on their own, and this could lead to habitual sugar smuggling, real dental difficulties, obesity, and diabetes. We endorse moderation rather than the obliteration of the party or trick-or-treating sugar booty.

To do this, you must have a candy “check-in” and go through their bags of candy. Allow the children to pick 8-10 tiny treats they love the most.

Cavities and Candy:  Dental Lesson Number Two—Moderation Begins at Home

After choosing top favorite candies, let your children set up tiny treat bags that you will put in lunches or afternoon snack-times. Making these little snack packages is actually a fun activity as they muse over the surprises they plan for future snacks.

Reminders of the Relationship between Cavities and Candy  

You see, Halloween gives parents and care-givers a good opportunity to talk about how sugar affects teeth. They also need to know how starches stay in the mouth and turn into sugary treats for the sugar-bugs of decay.  “The message isn’t “candy is bad,” but that candy and other sweets, in excess, can lead to cavities.”

Children learn two small but powerful ideas:

  • They help to control their diets and therefore, their health.
  • The treats they eat relate directly to life-time dental health.

Halloween Candy and Cavities Lesson Three:  Setting Up a Scheduled Treat Time

She’s Smiling Because She Avoided Halloween Candy and Cavities.

Snack time is not a bad idea at all.  Especially with a stock of Halloween candy in the cupboard.

However, you need to establish a rule to prevent all-day-long or all-week-long feasting on sugar. So, “with your child, set a time of day to eat a couple of pieces Halloween candy—and an apple, too, maybe.”

Although it begins with Halloween, we hope this treat time becomes a new way of thinking about sweets. Eventually, we hope children lose the habit of craving sweets at other times of the day. We hope they keep this lesson in their daily schedule all their lives. The idea of a specified treat time is the direct opposite of an open candy bowl on the table, or a sneak-bag in the kitchen cupboard.

Lesson Four from Halloween Candy and Cavities:  Brushing or  Rinsing after Treats

Easily adapted as a consequence of snack time, is a fine ritual:  brushing your teeth after you enjoy a little sugar snack-time.  It is a refreshing little habit.

If brushing is impossible, at least rinsing out the mouth thoroughly is another alternative.  Soon your child will realize how good it feels to destroy that nasty biofilm that encases teeth after sweets.

Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty, stated, “It’s OK to eat that candy on Halloween but it’s important to have a plan.”

Keep You and Your Children Safe on Halloween

During this COVID-19 Halloween season, safety cannot be overemphasized. Earlier, we mentioned a “check-in for candy.” In addition to preventing excess consumption of sweets which leads to “sugar bugs,” there are other considerations.

  1. Check candy to be sure it is safe. This is always a concern during the Halloween Season.  Recently, a police report was issued this concern: ” “During this Halloween, we urge parents to be ever vigilant in checking their children’s
    Sugar Bugs or Sweets Almost Always Leads to Candy and the "Cavities Syndrome".

    That’s a Lot of Candy. Be Sure Not to Eat It All At Once.

    candy before allowing them to consume those treats. Drug-laced edibles are packaged like regular candy and may be hard to distinguish from the real candy.”

  2. The CDC has advised the public that Trick Or Treating is a special concern during the COVID-19. This is another reason we did not host a Candy Buy-Back because we did not want to encourage people gathering in one place. However, we know that some families still plan on conventional practices. If so, be inventive. Find ways of handing out candy with the added safeguards including masks and distancing. For example, one family devised a tube that could be used to safely dispense the treats. If someone in your home is especially susceptible to this disease, there are additional guidelines that can be helpful at this site.  Actually, we think the best way to distribute treats was via Parade!

We hope you enjoy your holiday and our dental lessons on this blog.  As always, thank you for reading our blog, and keep your smile shining! You see, cavities and candy do not have to go together.